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File 135407449154.jpg - (273.28KB, 800x800, look in the mirror and what do you see.jpg) [iqdb]
Part 1: >>26223

[-y-] I don't know what I am. Part human. Part bird. Part doll. None of them. All of them. Less yet more. To define myself, to attempt to encapsulate my entire being in such few, superficial words is a fool's venture, for none of us are merely the sum of our parts. If nothing else, then I will accept but this - I know not what I am, save that I am I.


Taking her words to heed, you glance down at yourself, and the hands that are by your side. One that is still clawed and wicked, glinting in the light that leaks through the trees. The other is wooden and dull, not reflecting any light at all.

One part of it is alien, and one feels natural. Yet, at the same time, both are wrong. They are not your hands. This is not your body. You did not choose this. Instead, this was chosen for you. This is not how you want to be. This is the life you are forced to take and endure.

Then again, how is that any different from what you have always been? Your life before this was dull and dreary. It may have been safe, giving you enough money to keep a roof over your head while saving up for a rainy day and your retirement decades from now, but was it truly a life for you? Were you truly alive back then?

That life was not the one you wanted, either. Idly, you drift back to your own childhood, of what you wanted to be so long ago. What so desperately you wished to be real was not, and so you found yourself drifting on a path to mediocrity. It was not the path that you desired and aspired to, but it was the one you were forced to walk.

And now it comes down to a decision. Two paths that you can walk. You can succumb to the beast that you are now, to the primal urges to rip and tear guts large and small. All the same, you hear the song in your throat telling you that is not the only option. An embrace of the elements could be sought out, if only you so asked them to take you in.

However, at the same time your conscious proved too strong. You can't give up what makes you human, even if you were not exactly a shining example originally. However, you have seen these Youkai, and what they do to others.

You think back to the girl waiting back at the burrow, clinging to just the barest hint that there was something out there that she could return to. With but a threadbare shirt to keep a hold on her sanity, she stood there, trusting that you would return to her. Waiting overhead was that monster of a girl, threatening to hurt her once again. If you did not return as yourself, you don't know if Mystia will make it.

Not to mention the doll that was back at Margatroid's home. You went out of your way to treat it as she should. It was not just a doll. It was another person, one suffering a curse even more terrible than yours. If you couldn't keep your humanity for her sake, what good was it? What good was any of this you have done?

"I ̧k͏n̵ǫw ńo͘t wha҉t̷ I̸ am,̵ ̀sa͜ve th͟at I a͜m ̵." The truth in that statement shocks even you as it falls out of your mouth. Closing your eyes, you begin to search for something within yourself. You know not what you search for. None of the bestial anger or the elemental placidness is your destination. Instead, you look deeper, past those parts of you, and past the part of you that still wishes for this all to be a bad dream.

However fantastic this all is, it is real. You will not go back to normal, ever. You can accept that. You will not accept whatever destiny these Youkai have for me. There is nobody who can write your fate. Instead, you will compose that future melody, and you will sing it out as you desire.

As you accept that you are more, you find yourself.

Lights dance in front of your eyes as they refuse to open, batting back and forth. You hear loud whooshing in your head as something inside of you stirs. Feathers twitch and gears grind as something pervades your body, something alien and at the same time something so familiar you can't help but wonder when it ever left you.

Idly, you feel familiar cold hands pressing down on your shoulders, shaking you. A few seconds later, you feel said cold hands slapping your face, but you do not respond. You are caught up in this reverie, this feeling.

However, how great this feeling is does not override the pain that soon follows as it pierces your mind. Numbers twisting in half dimensions, slipping sideways as words write themselves diagonally on tesseracts. Numerals dance in four dimensions before fading into colors that your eyes have never seen.

Out of the corner of your mind, you hear a voice that is panicked. "Lucas… What have you done? This shouldn't be happening…" Again, the hand slaps the side of your face, and again you give no response. "It appears that I must take… Harsher measures…"

Before you realize what has happened, you feel the cold hands on your face as her fingers pry your eyelids open. You do your best to shut them, but her fingers are stronger. Wincing at the light compounding the pain in your head, you barely see those dead eyes of hers staring at you.

After a few torturous seconds, Margatroid closes those eyes. A moment later, they shoot back open, the orbs inside now blazing as her colors fuse together. The life in her eyes burns brighter until you can see nothing at all but the white light.

Until there is nothing but light.


Whimpering, you squeeze your eyes shut at the bright light. Everything is so cold now. Why is everything so cold? The slick liquid on you makes you feel even colder as you slide between two long soft things.

Taking a ragged gasp, you let out a small cry. Something warm and fluffy surrounds you as you two large things pick you up off the ground. You peek open your eyes and see a bunch of flickering things. So shiny… You reach out a hand to touch them.

A light voice chuckles as you are carried. Glancing up, you see a big thing carrying you. What is that big thing? You have no idea what. Oh well. At least you are warm and cozy. Still, the big thing hands you to another big thing.

Whatever they are, they make a lot of weird noise. But they sound happy. This one feels different though. This one is safe. Smiling, you bury your head in large mounds before you, nuzzling softly.

After a few moments, you look back up before grinning at Papaw. "Look! Look wha' Mamaw make foah me!" Smiling, your pudgy hands hold out the rag doll with buttons for eyes that she had given you just moments before.

Smiling back at you, Papaw ruffles your blonde hair. "It's cute. Is she your friend now?"

"My bestest fwiend!" You grin even more toothily at the man as he sets you down. "I ca' pway wif her an' haff 'ea wif her and aww sors of fum!"

"That's good, dear." Grinning at your actions, he sets down in his chair and gathers up his hammer and tacks. "But you didn't even show me your dress? Is that a new one that she made for you?"

"Uh-huh!" Smiling happily, you spin around, sending the dress flying. Once done twirling about, you pick your dress up and do the best imitation of a curtsy that you can.

"It looks lovely on you." You can't help but to smile brighter at Papaw as he says how pretty you look. "Now, I'm going to have to make you a new pair of shoes to go with that dress. I wonder what would look better with that blue…"

"Wha' about' 'e bwown?" Smiling, he nods to you. You can't help but to spin around once more with the doll, hugging her to your chest. "Me an' 'olly gonna go an' pway now!"

"Alright, dear. Have fun, but make sure to do what your mother tells you to!"

Pouting for a moment, you dance away, running through the tall walls of the house. You are glad that Mamaw and Papaw are still around. Sisters are too old to be interested in you, so you love it when they are around. And now you have Dolly, you will have someone around all the time.

Like those stupid boys. Harrumphing, you march past them in your boots, your head held up high as they jeer at you. "Look at the little girl! Such a stupid doll she has!"

Turning towards them, you stick out your tongue and clutch Dolly tighter to your chest. "At least I can count! Stupid boys don't even know how many toes they have!" Stomping away, you barely notice as one starts running after you, his feet pounding noisily on the stone street.

Before you can say anything, one of them yanks Dolly away from you. "Haha! Got your stupid doll, you stupid girl!" He grins as you start running towards him, holding the doll too far away for you to get.

"Give Dolly back!" Angrily, you do your best to jump up on the stupid boy and take her back from him. However, whatever you do is no good, and you can't reach her. Tears start to form in your eyes as you shout at him again. "Give Dolly back!"

Basking in his triumph, he didn't even notice as another boy hits him in the back of his head, knocking him down to the floor and sending Dolly flying. Immediately, you leap over and catch her out of the air, before turning back to the one who had knocked the stupid boy down. Your heart freezes for a minute as he grins at you, before diving back at the other boys. Even as you dart away, you can't help to reconsider in your mind.

"He's not a stupid boy!" Frowning, you look at Mamaw as she stitches together your dress from where you had ripped it. "Just because we were playing in the streets…"

"It doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful. Those poor boys are so filthy, after all. Who knows what diseases he may have?" Mamaw sighs as she does her best to mend the jagged tear. "Especially as such actions are not ladylike."

Pouting, you grip the hand of the doll by your side. "But I am ladylike at home, and with all those other stupid girls. But they're dumb. They barely even know how to read! Always fussing about something or the other. Having tea with Dolly is more entertaining that having it with them!"

"I know they can be… frustrating, dear." Sighing, she glances away. "I wish that your sisters would care for you, but all of them have their husbands to attend to, now. You need to get to know some other girls your age, Margaret. Maybe they can teach you how to act."

You cross your arms, looking away. "Like I need to be taught. I can be both at once." Frowning, you looked down at your feet, scuffing the boots against the floor. "Although, I think I hurt myself this morning…"

"Why is that, Maggie?" Looking over your body quickly, she finds no obvious cuts. "Where did you hurt yourself?"

"I… I started bleeding, down there… This morning." Blushing, you look away from her. "I didn't wanna tell you…"

Mamaw is silent for a few seconds, be chuckling. "So it's that time. Come along, then, daughter, let me tell you a few things about how your body changes as it grows up."

Not that grownups are that smart. That silly boy that you follows around agrees with you. Even as you grew older, you can't help but return his grin. That special grin that makes your stomach flutter. As time passes, you notice that he only gets taller and stronger, and you change in other ways. "I don't think I can keep up much longer…"

"Why not! You and Dolly always can keep up with me." That grin of his made you melt a bit more, before it made you giggle. "What did I say? It's the truth?"

"But you're getting taller… I couldn't run as fast as you before. Now I can barely keep up, even if you dash slowly." Blushing, you look away, one of your hands gripping Dolly's as she rests in your pocket.

"At least you're getting more out of the deal. I may be getting stronger, but I'm still as ugly as ever. You're just getting prettier." After a moment, he realizes what he just said before blushing and looking away.

As cute as the reaction is, you find yourself also blushing at his remarks. "You think… Think I'm pretty?" Your lips tug up as you glance down at yourself. You're still just a twig as far as you are concerned, but Mamaw did say that you'd grow into a beautiful woman in time.

Interrupting your musing, the boy smiles weakly behind his dirty face and mussed hair. "I always have. Never was gonna say it though. Boys aren't allowed to think that girls are pretty."

Smiling, you slide over closer to him. "You can call me that…" Darting from side to side, you make sure that no one else is lurking on this dirty old city street. Satisfied that none are here, you lean up to the boy. With your own face blushing heavily, you plant a small peck on his lips.

Leaning back for a second, your grin widens before you move in and plant a longer, deeper kiss on him. After a few seconds, he eventually pulls away, squeezing your hand as he does. "I've got to go now. We're going to be casting off soon enough. I'd rather not be scrubbing decks on the first day aboard the ship."

"If they're doing that, why couldn't they just enlist you in the navy? You'd be so much safer…" Tears well up in your eyes as you cling to his uniform, pulling him closer. "I wish that there was a better way…"

"Hey, Margaret… Don't worry." Smiling, the boy wipes the tears from your eyes with a rough finger before squeezing your hand again. "I'll be back. This should be enough to get us started. And maybe then your parents…"

"They will. They promised me that if you had enough to get started." Smiling weakly up at him, you grip his shirt tighter before giving him another soft kiss. "Come back to me, love."

"I will, love." With smiling eyes, he slowly lets go before fixing his knapsack on his shoulder. Slowly, he walks away towards the gangplank, his eyes never leaving you. "I'll be seeing you soon enough, Maggie! Trust me!" Waving goodbye slowly, you squeeze that old doll to your chest, a soft reassurance as to old times… And maybe a bit of luck.

Bad luck, in particular. You weep as you stand in the old grassy field, staring at the stones in front of you. The older forms of your sisters fade away into the fog, disappearing with but a word of farewell. However, you cannot accept how everything changed, so quickly.

"Why did the pox come for Papaw… Why did it have to, and why now?" You shake your head as you stare at the gravestone. "And why did you have to follow him, Mamaw? You still had me… You still had me…"

Kneeling down before the graves, you trace the names on them. "Why did you leave your Maggie? Why now? Not with… Not with what I just heard…" Sniffing, you shake your head as you pull out a small stone from your handbag, placing it on the ground between the two.

"Not even… Not even caring enough to send back the body. Just a poor soldier boy. They said that there was nobody to love him…" Shaking your head, you do your best to adjust the stone with his name on it, making sure that it is lined up with your parents. "I loved him, though. Why couldn't they let him come back? Even… Even if he was dead, I could have seen him… one last time."

Sniffing, you place your head in your hands, too weak to even cry. "All the way to Crimea, and for what? Nothing but recognition for serving the Empire…" Shaking your head once more, you stay there for hours; silently grieving for all that you have lost.

Looking up, you feel the carriage rock as it comes to a halt. "Have we arrived already?" Slowly standing up, you make your way to the door and exit to the outside.

There before you was a small house, just as the agent had said. Not that much land that you could call your own, but it was nice and away from the city. You'd find some way to get by, but you had to get away. There are too many good memories, and too many bad ones. Sighing, you glanced inside and began to remove the luggage that you had bothered to keep.

Once the carriage had left, you did your best to tote the heavy trunks inside the house. The papered walls that met you were foreign to your eyes; so long had you spent in that cobbler's shop in the city. However, they were now the walls that you would call home, so you traipse inside.

Even as you begin to unpack, you feel your mind keep drifting. Clenching the hand of the doll that remains in your pocket, you do your best to keep from breaking down once more.

However, you are interrupted by a small noise. Looking back at the entryway, you see a girl standing outside. She can't be more than ten years old. Smiling softly, you walk over to her and kneel down. "Hello there… Who are you? What are you doing here?"

"I'm Alice! Nice to meet you! Are you new?" At your nod, she smiles. "That's good! I wanted someone to play with me. Will you come and play with me?"

Glancing at the piles of luggage that had to be sorted out yet, you look back at the girl and smile. "Of course. I'm Maggie. It's nice to meet you as well." Tilting your head to the side, you ask as kindly as you can, "What is it that you want to play?"


Before you can answer, light fills your vision and you are in a small copse among the trees. As you blink your eyes, you find yourself staring at a pale vision of yourself. "Who are you? What are you doing here, and why do you look like me?"

Frowning at you, the copy shakes her head. "What are you talking about… Snap out of it, beast!" Before you can ask what she means, she slaps you upside the head. Your cheek stings at the cold hand. "Remember who you are!"

Affronted, you step towards the copy. "I know who I am. I just want to know who you are to imitate me!"

The copy pinches her nose, before glaring into your eyes. "You are mistaken. A side-effect of what I just did. Listen to my words. Remember who you are, Lucas!"

Your mind stretches for a moment before snapping back into place. "Who… Who I am…" Just as suddenly as everything else, the memories flood back into your mind. Every single moment from the past day, not to mention the rest of your life are suddenly crystal clear. "I am Lucas. I am I."

"For a moment, you weren't." Margatroid shook her head before looking away. "That took longer than I thought. Are you well enough to travel?"

"I think so…" Shaking your head, you try to make sense of what just happened. You remember yourself. But you remember another self just as well, if you just give it a little thought. "But Maggie…"

[ ] Why am I speaking with your voice?
[ ] Why do I remember… this girl's childhood?
[ ] What did you do to me?
[ ] Why am I calling you Maggie?
[ ] (As always, insert your own)


Well, I hope you all enjoy this wall. It isn't quite a great one, but it certainly is a wall, compared to the others

Also note that next update is the z update, so start thinking of your questions so that you can debate them out!
Let's just go with showing how confused Lucas is right now before settling on a question.
[X] "Why did I see... why do I sound like... no, what did you just do?

No comments on the write-in? Well, not much to say, I suppose. How close was this to what you were originally thinking of writing?

No, that's not the z question. For that one, I think I'll wait till the next update before deciding.

Ahh, so sorry. Got caught up in writing... Well, frankly, it was close to the original, as you are rewording it for the most part. However, there is one longer term difference for both. After all, the original emphasized two parts. You emphasized three parts.

I do love your way with words, though, especially that last sentence.
[X] What did you do to me? The why likely won't be of use, much like the reason for the voice. Likewise, knowing why you are calling her as such will likely not be of use, while the question of why you know this will be explained by the afore mentioned choice. In the end, asking what she did may answer many questions.
Gotta go with:

[X] "Why did I see... why do I sound like... no, what did you just do?

Incidentally, that is a very pretty Alice in that image, there. Whoever the artist is, I'm pretty well impressed. Reminds me a little of Disney for some reason.
[-z-] "Why did I see… why do I sound like… no, what did you just do"


"Why did I see…" Your mind twitches, and you find yourself recognizing something else. "Why do I sound like…" No, that won't do, not now. Your head hurts so much, trying to make sense of your memories. Are they your memories? There's nothing making sense right now. Nothing at all.

Turning towards the copy— No, turning towards Margatroid, you watch her for a few moments. As you brain begins to settle, the thoughts in your mind stopping their constant whirring for a few seconds, you finally speak your mind. "Maggie, what did you do?"

Her face may be as impassive as ever, but her jaw line bulged from pressing her teeth together. Even stiffer than she normally is, the girl eventually responds. "You were losing yourself to madness. I asked you to fall to the beast. Those I can control, and I know that your body would accept it."

She seems to be waiting for you to respond, but you do no such thing. You're much too busy taking stock of what just happened to even think of a way to respond. "But what you did… I'm not sure. What did you do? What did you try and fall into?"

"…Myself?" Shaking your head, you look away from the girl, ignoring the flashes of memories popping up in your head. "I'm not some damn beast or anything else. I'm not going to fall for that. I am who I am, and that's all that I am."

Frowning, you feel a cold hand place itself on your forehead. "That is… interesting. I thought you were denying what you were. That's why… That's why I forced your mind to change enough to accept the magic."

"So, you went into my head, and changed everything around so I would… accept the magic?" Something unpleasant rises in your gut at her words. "You went that far? What did you change in me?"

"That's the thing." Margatroid frowned as she stared at you. "There was nothing inside you to change. That is why I spent so long searching. Whatever you had done to yourself, it managed to sort itself out in the very end."

"And… these memories?"

For a moment you swore that you saw something in her eyes before Margatroid looks away. Still, the frown on her face is quite noticeable, even from this angle. "I dominated your mind in order to help. I overrode that part of you to search. …In the process, you might have seen some things that are better off forgotten."

You can't do that, for sure. Even as you stare out at Margatroid, you remember the dirty streets and dingy candlelight of your— her old home. Her voice is what leave your throat, and you imagine that if you looked in a mirror, you wouldn't recognize the face there. "I can't forget it, Maggie. Not that easily. It's all so vivid…"

"Of course it is… It seems that I miscalculated. A beast would have a harder time forgetting…" Sighing, she ushers you along after her. "Then tell me about your life, then. That will help you remember it more easily. The others will recede in time if you allow them to, and instead focus on your own memories."

Even as she slowly walks away towards the opposite side of the clearing, you feel your voice jamming up. Was she going to dismiss that all so easily? "Hey…" Your throat is dry as she stops and turns her head back over her shoulder.

[ ] "I'm… I'm sorry. About him."
[ ] "What was his name? If he was so important… I can't remember that part."
[ ] "It's nothing. Never mind."


[ ] What part of his history to discuss (time period, particularly)


[ da ze ] The z question.

Aye, now that you mention it, it does. Of course, now I can't help but imagine Alice as one of the princesses… Huh. Some sort of Snow White variation, with the dolls as the dwarves? Who knows. But searching the realistic tag does yield some gems at times.
[x] "What was his name? I want to know it"

Talk about your:

[x]Childhood. The time of magic, hopes and dreams; before the droning of your adult life.

The [z] question:

What is the relationship of this Gensokyo and the outside? The barrier seems too permeable to warrant the existance of a human village and the youkai seem a lot more powerful and territorial than always.

Also, the second part of the name option would piss off Maggie in that wording.
[X] What was his name? If I can't easily forget... I'd like to know it.
(Asking a little more nicely.)

[X] Best to begin at the beginning. Childhood, the time filled with the hope that you would all too soon come to lose.

For [Z], I feel like asking something about our magical powers. Perhaps
[ ] How could we develop them?
the "how" referring both to "in what direction, and "in what way".
Though I guess I'm fine with >>26546's vote if it comes down to it. Will try to crack my head over it more today and hopefully come up with something else.
[X] "What was his name? If he was so important… I can't remember that part."


[Z]What are the drawbacks and side effects of using Lucas's power? (assuming Lucas's power is pertinent to why he saw/experienced Margatroid's past)
[X] What was his name? If I can't easily forget... I'd like to know it, if you don't mind.

[x]Childhood. When life still held more meaning than mere monotony, when learning was prized for more than a bigger paycheck. Back when the horizon held promise instead of more of the same.

[z] What is the relationship of this Gensokyo and the outside? The barrier seems too permeable to warrant the existance of a human village and the youkai seem a lot more powerful and territorial than always. It definitely seems to hew much closer to horror than other sorts of Gensokyos. However, maybe the frequency of less-than-moral, powerful youkai has more to do with the sorts of things and people who'd want to gain all that power to begin with?
File 135416659640.jpg - (246.93KB, 333x500, what if the stars were like the leaves?.jpg) [iqdb]
[-a-] What was his name? If I can't easily forget… I'd like to know.
[-a-] Childhood.


Meeting your eyes with hers, you gulp softly as she stares you down. "What… What was his name?" Her face twists as she continues to stare at you, unreadable to your eyes. "If I am unable to forget everything that happened to me just now… I'd like to know."

Those dead eyes bore down on yours. Down in your throat, you hear something cracking. However, you have made no move to speak. Before you can wonder for too long on what had happen, Margatroid finally moves. "Lucas, we need to get moving. We've tarried too long."

Well, that seems like one answer that she won't give you. At the very least, it is her business. That point seems rather weak, though, when you feel her memories coursing through your head. You can't force her to talk, though, so you reluctantly nod and start to follow after her.

Stepping back into the dense woods and staying close behind her, you glance at the back of her head. "You… You wanted me to speak about my past? Where should I start?" Curiously, you are not nearly as uncomfortable with Margatroid's voice in your throat compared to the mechanical one. Given that her memories are still at the forefront, though, it may explain why.

The girl pauses for a moment, allowing you to catch up and stand beside her. "Wherever you feel is most pertinent. Typically, those memories that are fondest would serve best. Would you want to recall that which you hate?" After a few moments, she began walking again, but with none of that earlier hurry. Instead, she is taking a stroll through the trees, and you are joining her by her side.

As you gaze at the trees, which all of a sudden seem to become much more orderly while the path becomes clearer, you try to think past all of the foreign memories, and try to find those that are yours. Your heart drops in your chest as you recall those that are most recent. You remember the monotony, the grayness that filled your life. The dirty sidewalks and dirtier apartments, each the same as the next.

That is nothing that you wish to recall. And so you don't. Your mind shies away from those memories before digging deeper into your conscious. You dig into the days that you were happy. The days when the sky was still so big, and the ocean was still so vast. The whole world waited for you then… At least, it did as long as your mind was imaginative enough to keep up.

"We're not so different, I suppose. Compared to your history." You feel her eyes upon you as you continue to walk, but instead you merely gaze ahead, staring as the forest path winds around. "I was raised in the city as well. A small apartment in a small building. But it was nice."

After a few seconds of silence, you continue. "I tended to keep to myself, for the most part. I spent a lot of my time watching the stars. They were hard to see, a lot of the time." Chuckling, you shake your head. "I don't know if you are aware, but the outside has become much brighter than it used to be. It's hard to see the stars when the big city has its lights."

"But those nights that I could, it was amazing. There was so much I could see. And they seemed so close that I could just reach out and pluck one from the sky." Miming doing just that, you rip a leaf from a nearby limb before examining it closely. After a few moments, you toss it away and let it float end on end as the wind carries it away.

"You know that it isn't possible to touch them." Margatroid turns away herself, speaking to the forest at large. "Such a thing would be foolhardy. You'd be more apt to kill yourself in the process of reaching so far. Humans are not capable of such things."

Unable to help the smile from growing over your face, you look at her. "Good thing I'm not completely human any more, isn't it?" Shrugging off the thought, your eyes turn back towards the trail. "That might be why I was so interested in learning about the old fairytales. The old stories. Not the new ones."

"You were?" Out of the corner of your eye, you saw something amounting to interest flickering on her face. "I would not have expected such a thing."

"I had thought that you made a point of not assuming anything?" Margatroid does not react much, but you see a small shift on her face. Counting it as a victory, you continue speaking. "I suppose it was just me being a kid. But whether they were fantasies or old tales, they were interesting. Some were tales of knights battling dragons. Wizards and fairies and all sorts of creatures, those that thought as humans do… And those that have different priorities."

Even as you speak, you can't help but shake your head, realizing that what you were talking about had happened to you. "…But those were just tales. Stories that were told to pass the time. As much as I loved those things, I had to put them away."

Her gimlet eyes still staring at you, Margatroid spake to you directly. "Why would you have to put them away? Have such things become frowned upon? Or did you grow tired of them?"

"Neither. They became… Superfluous." Sighing, you raise a wooden hand up to rub your forehead, massaging the slight pain that still echoed within. "As much as I could imagine, I could never live it. As much as I could hope to touch the stars, I could never go that far. I had to accept the hand I had been dealt. Such is life."

"Such it is." Still, even as you stare off, reminiscing about what had been, you feel a cool hand on your shoulder. By the time you look to the side, Margatroid is facing straight ahead, not paying you any heed. "Is that all that you spent doing in your childhood? Gazing up at the stars, with your head in the clouds?"

A smile flickers over your face as you snapped back to reality. "No, it isn't. I did other things as well. Played baseball in a sandlot for a while. Never did amount to anything… I believe I spent too much time digging for worms instead of paying attention to the ball."

"I am unaware of what sport you are talking about, if I am correct in thinking that much." At your nod, she sighs. "I never took interest in any sort of thing myself. Too many rules, and not enough reward. Did you care for it?"

"I suppose so. It's one thing that did break up the monotonous days." Chuckling, you glance back at her. "Not that I had any team that I cared for. All that I knew was that I hated the Yankees. Which makes me the same as most of the population."

"Mmm…" Margatroid stares at you for a moment longer, before glancing away. "Trivialities. But, that is what makes up most of that childhood that you remembered. It isn't on your mind any more, is it?"

Blinking, you try to remember what she was speaking of. Those memories of hers are still inside, but you actually have to work to remember them. "No, it isn't. That's nice…"

"It shows. You're speaking in your old voice." A small smile flickered over her cold face as she watched the path ahead. "That is good. You know how to subconsciously control that. Maybe if you're patient, you can control it consciously."

"So I am. I guess that I'm myself again…" Oddly enough, while you feel normal once more, a part of you laments that you're back to that flat, old tone. "That's good. Thank you for that, Maggie."

For the first time, Margatroid twitches when you use that variant on her name. Glancing at her oddly, you raise an eyebrow while you look at her. However, she does not reprimand you. Giving it up as something that is merely odd, you shrug your shoulders and continue walking.

"You know that those stories aren't true. At least, not most of it." The silence that was maintained for a few seconds is broken by the girl's voice. "There are no such things as fairytales. Not as you know them. There is nobody that is going to come save you. No mages that will charge in blazing, defeating the monster and allowing you to escape."

Shoulders slump as you glance back at her. "Is that why you chose this path? You're sounding nearly human now. Are you sure that nothing could be done?"

"Not effectively. They are stronger, and they are both whimsical and amoral. You cannot force them to play your game. You must play theirs." Her shifting eyes meet yours once more as she tries to get you to listen. "I would not suggest being a hero. Nothing good can come from that."

Biting your lip, you slowly shake your head at her. "Then, if I'm not allowed to have any hope to escape… What future do I have aside the one that I am forced to take? One would hope that there might be a happily ever after."

"There is an ever after, Lucas. But none who live it are happy about it." Biting her tongue, she steps in front of you, breaking the tree line and entering another clearing. Looking around, you easily recognize that land that surrounds you. Even though you have seen the stone and dirt only once, you recognize the entrance to the burrow.

You both carefully look around, doing your best to find anyone who might be there. Not finding any, she turns to you, staring you down with that now-familiar gaze. "This is your last chance before we enter your Master's lair. Is there anything else you desire?"

[ ] Yes
-[ ] Specify
[ ] No
Alright, well, it's two vs two, with one side wanting information on the setting, and the other side wanting information on the magic. I'm not going to call it, even >>26547 says that they are fine with the former. I'll wait a bit longer, and you all can debate it out. I'll make sure to point out when I'm calling it, even if it is just in an saged post.

I'll not say which side is the better side, as both have their merits. Just, as always, choose wisely. On the bright side, we'll get back to Mystia and Wriggle… And you can start figuring out how to get out. If you decide you want to, of course.

This ain't no place for no hero.
[X] Yes
-[X] How can I get in contact with you?

>>26548 Here. I choose to ask about Lucas's magic because it seems likely that we can ask Mystia about the the general area and the border of Gensokyo. She's been here long enough that she has to have some idea of how people get abducted or if there is any human civilization nearby.
[x] Yes
[x] How can I get in contact with you in the future?
[x] Also: Thank you for all the help. You're one of the few I've yet met who seems like they give a damn. Even if it might not mean much, I'm grateful.

I disagree largely because Mystia was likely grabbed from somewhere like us. She may not actually know how the border works, or even about the current state of Gensokyo. Remember, Aya's not around to distribute news, and
[x] Yes
[x] How can I get in contact with you in the future?
[x] Also: Thank you for all the help. You're one of the few I've yet met who seems like they give a damn. Even if it might not mean much, I'm grateful.

I disagree largely because Mystia was likely grabbed from somewhere like us. She may not actually know how the border works, or even about the current state of Gensokyo. Remember, Aya's not around to distribute news, and it appears that the general hierarchy and even the way things get /into/ Gensokyo differs substantially from how it normally works. If Mystia knew how the border worked or where to go for help, she'd probably have tried.

Or maybe she does know, but is too afraid of Wriggle to say?
Ugh. It double posted for some reason, and I accidentally kept my scriptblocker up so I didn't receive the cookie-password to delete that first post. These are both mine. Sorry for the trouble.

[x] Yes
[x] How can I get in contact with you in the future?
[x] Also: Thank you for all the help. You're one of the few I've yet met who seems like they give a damn. Even if it might not mean much, I'm grateful.

This looks like a good choice.
>>26554 That's a fair argument, plus even if we knew the in's and out's of Lucas's magic he wouldn't know how it works outside of meta-knowledge.

changing >>26548 to:
[Z] What is the relationship of this Gensokyo and the outside? The barrier seems too permeable to warrant the existance of a human village and the youkai seem a lot more powerful and territorial than always.
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[-b-] Yes
-[-b-] How can I get in contact with you in the future?
-[-b-] Also: Thank you for all the help. You're one of the few I've yet met who seems like they give a damn. Even if it might not mean much, I'm grateful.


"There is one thing…" Making sure that there is no one around, you nod to the girl. "Is there any way at all that I can get in contact with you, should I ever need your help?"

Margatroid's eyes close as she brings a hand to her forehead. "There are many things that I can do, beast, but to directly help you take down another youkai would be… something that is out of my hands."

Sighing, you nod again, this time slower. "I know that, Maggie. I know not the extent of Wriggle's power… If she can do this to me, what else can she do?" Ignoring your own rhetorical question, you press on. "However, could you please answer the question? If ever I am in need of some advice…"

The Youkai stares at you for a few seconds more, her eyes finally having opened moments before. Something is warring inside them as you feel that there is something in them that is actually not quite dead. "I will say this. You know the song that the dolls can hear. Sing to them… And one will answer your call." Her eyes immediately harden as she stares at you. "You know what danger they will be in if you do, though. Make sure that you do not put them in any peril."

Gulping, you nod to the girl. "I will do that… Still, thanks for telling me." Margatroid nods to you once more, before turning away from you and walking towards the entrance of the burrow.

However, you feel that there is something else that you need to say to her. "Maggie, wait." Reaching forward with your wooden hand, you grab the girl's cool shoulder. Immediately her head turns around, spinning nearly all the way to glare at you.

As frightened as you are at this sudden reminder of how inhuman she is, you press forward anyways. "I wanted to thank you for all the help." Gulping, you stare into those eyes of hers, forcing yourself to continue. "You're one of the few I've yet met who seems like they give a damn about anyone else. All of the other Youkai I've seen seem to be concerned mostly with themselves. You… Don't seem to be quite the same."

The glare coming from the girl has by this point become positively frigid. However, you shrug off your body telling you to move away from her and to get away as quickly as you can. "Just… Even if it might not mean much to you. Even after chopping off my hand and tearing up my vocal cords… I'm grateful."

The girl stares at you for a few more seconds before her head spins away, pointedly not looking at you. "You should save your thanks. I detest what it is that you have become. You merely prove strong enough to hold my intrigue… Perhaps you will remain strong enough to stave off of the desires of the flesh that bind you stronger than ever before."

Silence reigned o'er the land for a minute or two. For the first time ever, you notice that Alice seems to be breathing noticeably. It isn't much, but it is just a little harsher than before. At the same time, her knuckles bulge as she clenches her hands together tightly, nails digging into the palm. Before you can ask if she is alright, your hand is shaken off of the girl's shoulder before she walks towards the entrance of the burrow. "Come. It is time to show you to your Master… And see if she is pleased with my efforts."

Gulping, you follow after the girl, descending back into the darkness that you had not been in for the past day. Your eyes do your best to adjust to the pitch-black area ahead of you, but they take minutes to make sense of the steps before you.

As you begin to lag behind, you feel a cool hand grab your own and begin to tug you along. "Hurry. She will not take lollygagging well. I am sure she knows that we have entered, so if we do not proceed quickly enough…"

Doing your best to make your way down the stairs, your wings flare out automatically in an attempt to catch you if you should fall over. Still, you don't stumble while your eyes finally adjust over to the cave that you are in now.

However, you do gulp as you pass through an entryway into that grand room from earlier, with braziers lining the halls. At the end of the hallway was that grand chair, nearly a throne. And upon it was a rather familiar figure that reminded you of just how insane your situation was.

Fortunately, Margatroid had let go of your hand moments before the figure looked up, and proceeds instead to push you towards the figure. As it stirs, you shiver at it grins widely at you, eyes glinting in the light of the fire.

"So, I see that you have finally returned, pet." Leaning forward in her throne, Wriggle smirks at you. "And here I thought that you had forgotten to return… At least that precious sparrow of yours won't have to suffer for it."

At that statement, you can't help the growl that passes your lips. Inside of you, that deep hatred begins to burn once more, having fallen to a smolder once you had left the burrow. Behind you, the cool hand presses into your spine, reminding you to keep yourself under control.

Wriggle just laughs softly at your reaction. "But first, let us get something out of the way." Leaning forward even more than before, she is nearly standing up as she stares you down. "Kneel before me."

[ ] Kneel
[ ] Don't


[da ze] Question will come later tonight, after make sure that there isn't any more argument. As it is, it's 3-1, so I think I'll be able to begin soon.
[X] Don't kneel. From the way she has acted thus far, she likes it when you resist, so long as you don't do it too much. If she repeats it with... more force, do as she asks with a slight growl.
[x] Resist, show that you aren't a dog under leash.

This is shorter than the vote above and basically the same, I guess.
[ze] What is the relationship of this Gensokyo and the outside? The barrier seems too permeable to warrant the existence of a human village and the youkai seem a lot more powerful and territorial than always.

Alright. Spoiler tags going up now in case whoever is reading this doesn't want to know.

Gensokyo in this version is not located on Earth itself. It is sideways from Earth, located in another plane. Although to call it a separate universe is misleading, as instead it is another dimension.

There is no need for a human village proper, as indeed the land is hostile itself to humanity. Any humans found in the land that is unprepared for the effects will find themselves being transformed. Those Youkai that are strong enough (Alice, for example) are able to control the transformation and allow the humans to become as they desire.

As Gensokyo is located sideways in space from Earth, the barrier is nowhere near as strong, merely keeping out that which is not desired. Stray humans still are able to stumble from world to another, though, and Youkai with sufficient strength (Wriggle, Alice, Margatroid) and knowledge (Wriggle, Alice) know how to step from one world to the other.

Alright, if you made it this far, here's a tidbit. That is, if you want to know part of the inspiration, as that might help you understand further.

If any of you are familiar with Changeling: The Lost, I based a lot of the changes around that. I am doing my best to twist the universes together, so that it is a Gensokyo that is inspired by them. It certainly helps that it takes the Youkai back to their roots, and in essence allows me to pursue their Grimmification.

I hope that all makes sense. If you wish me to clarify, I shall. But it will be done after next story post.
[X] Don't

That's a pretty neat scenario you have there. Also, this isn't gonna end well is it?

I thought the setting seemed familiar, but didn't want to say anything, just in case you didn't want it pointed out.

So, basically, we're screwed.

[-c-] Don't


As you stare up at that girl who seems to take joy in deriding you so, you grit your teeth while you think of whether to do as she has ordered you. While you could accede to her demands easily, the instincts that are coursing through you shout to not kneel one inch.

Helping those instincts is the small reminder that Wriggle enjoyed it when you defied her. Just as long as you do not push the envelope too far, you will not find yourself punished for your actions. Seeing as this was too much for your conscious, you shake your head and stare defiantly back at the monster of a girl. "No, I will not."

Wriggle merely stares at you for a few moments, that terrible grin of hers never laving her face. Before you can ask about anything else, though, she quickly turns to face Margatroid, still behind you. "Good. I was afraid that he might have been broken in too much. Then again, you would hardly be turning him into those little dolls of yours, would you, Margatroid?"

"I did as you asked of me, Wriggle." You can feel the frown on her face, but you do not look back in case that might be taken wrong. "His music box has been replaced, as you had requested from me." Gesturing at you, she continues. "He spoke out of turn at one moment, so I had to give him an object lesson. He was mostly docile after that point."

Following Margatroid's gesture, Wriggle's face froze as she spots your hand. Her face suddenly contorts in rage, and you take a step back, unsure if she is about to leap at you or the other Youkai. "Margatroid, he was not yours to do such a thing. I gave you specific instructions."

"How else could I have treated him?" Still, the girl is not cowed by the monster's actions, and merely returns her stare with a flat expression. "If you had one of the dolls here for some reason, would you not punish them if they misspoke? I'm ashamed at your hypocrisy, Wriggle."

Still resisting the urge to follow the conversation as if it were a tennis match, you look down at the ground as you compute what is being said. If you are hearing things right, it almost seems as if Margatroid is presenting herself as the head of the household, and not Alice. But why? "I am perfectly aware of it, stupid elemental."

Stepping forward, Wriggle bends down in front of you to grab your wooden hand before yanking it even closer for examination. "Stupid. I was satisfied with the way he was before." Glancing at you, you see anger in her eyes. You don't see anything else after that, as she slaps you to the side, sending you sliding across the floor and into a nearby wall.

Rubbing the back of your head, you watch as she approaches the girl. "I've half of a mind to not even give you your payment, because of that little mistake you have made."

"Pray tell, as I was generous in giving him a replacement." Grinning just slightly, she turns her eyes down to you. "I know how your kind is. Imagine your own reaction to having a hand replaced with wood." Any wicked expression fell from her face as she stares at Wriggle once more. "However, the job is done. Where is the payment that I was promised?"

Gnashing her teeth together, Wriggle watches Margatroid for a few moments, before turning back to the throne. "Hatate! Get up here!" After a few seconds, you hear the fluttering of wings, followed by the appearance of that girl from earlier.

You silently whisper thanks that she put on some clothes this time, as you dreaded having another naked meeting with the girl. As she flies past you, the winged beast shoots a glare at you as she lands in front of Wriggle. "Yes Master? What was it that you desired from me?"

Wriggle's face contorts into one of cruelty once again before she jerks her head towards Alice. "I need you to do something special for me, Hatate. Go with Margatroid. She needs something to experiment with, so she says. I know not the reason, but I am sure it is none of my business… Because you've been such a good pet recently, I have chosen you to go along with her."

Horror dawns on your face as you glance between the girl and Margatroid. Sure you did not care for the girl, but does that mean she has to suffer the same fate as the other dolls? Or would she suffer an even worse one? It's hard to tell, the way the monster was speaking. Before either of you can react, wires shoot out from Margatroid's sleeves, capturing the girl's wrists and wings in their tight embrace.

Was this truly the same girl that you had thanked just moments before? Which one was the mask, you wonder, and which one was real? If this was the game you had to play, could you even join in? And why are you having all of these questions all of a sudden? Everything seemed to be falling into place, and now…

Still, could you stand silently by as that girl is taken? Or… could you do something?

[ ] Don't say anything. You couldn't change it even if you tried.
[ ] Lambast Wriggle. She knows what fate would follow that.
[ ] Lambast Margatroid. What would possess her to do such a thing.
[ ] Attack Wriggle.
[ ] Offer to take the girl's place. You're part of the way there, after all.


Everyone wanted to know the payment, after all…

Not necessarily. But yeah, it's going to be tough to get out. Fortunately for you, the intro write-in for this thread is causing repercussions that I'm having trouble accounting for.

There is a Good End? and a True End, though. So, if you manage to reach either… Which is certainly possible. After all, you've already overlooked a few clues. Due to the setting, I've applied a weakness that they don't have in canon. What way could you gain power over them, and not have to fall and become a Youkai yourself?


I'm not ready to vote just yet, as I feel like I need to do some reading up on how Changeling handles the psychology of its PCs.

I am, however, relatively familiar with how Exalted handles its fae analogue. Is it a matter of hijacking their 'stories,' then? I assume we'll have to know what those are, still. But there's an idea, there. Figure out how to change the protagonist of this tale. As of yet, we're still just a victim. But if we can find a way to insert ourselves as a powerful actor in their Story, then perhaps we could gain a measure of power over them. Hmm.
[x] Attack Wriggle.

Crap, we are in Changeling, that means we are utterly screwed if we EVER meet a true fae. Anyway, talking about Alice would blow whatever cover she has, talking at Wriggle would make her know that we know something about the household that she doesn't, and not doing anything isn't something I'd want to do. All the options are about shooting ourselves in the foot now that I think about it.

We had a nice detachable and controllable hand about her, choke her when she least expects it, then strike, we are the pretador HERO after all.

Understandable. But realize that I am making the situation my own. I have been inspired by it, but not necessarily everything is the same. This is not a strict transplant, as I want to meld the two worlds as I desire.

I have no knowledge whatsoever of Exalted though. So any parallels there might be would be coincidental. So, that idea about a story... good luck pulling of such a coup.

[X] Don't say anything. You couldn't change it even if you want to. Of course, it helps that you care less about this girl. First impressions, and all that.
[X] Lambast Wriggle. She knows what fate would follow that.

I'm kind of torn on this. All these options are pretty bad for either Lucas's mental health, physical health, social life or all of the above.
[x] Don't say anything. You couldn't change it even if you tried.
Don't be the hero, nothing good will come of it.
A question for the author: you mentioned that we're overlooking certain 'clues,' but I have no idea what they may be. In general terms, what should we be looking for? Physical object? Something someone told us?
Both of your examples are pertinent. But when I speak of clues in general, I mean choices that you could have picked that would have revealed something that would have helped you. It's literally an option a reveals nothing, while option b reveals something important. Granted, everything is important so far, but there are some things that have been less important than others.

Although, there is one thing that Margatroid has said that could help you gain an advantage as well.
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[-d-] Don't say anything. You couldn't change it even if you tried.


Your hand starts to rise up, pointing in the direction of Wriggle. You want to do something. You know what that girl is going to go through if Alice gets her hands on her. That is, though, if what Wriggle was saying wasn't actually true. What if Margatroid actually does plan to experiment on the girl? You know that what she did, if violent, was well intentioned. At least it works for you.

A shiver comes over your body as you look back into her memories. She had no formal training in medicine. So what exactly has she done to become proficient enough to change out your vocal box?

Even as that thought passes through your head, your hand begins to fall again. You want to shout. You want to scream. You want to sink your claws into that flesh and rip her in two. But all of the primal urges and moral dilemmas are beaten down by your mind. There is nothing that you can do to help her. At best, she would become another doll. At worst…

Well, you don't like her at all, really. But even that excuse rings hollow in your head.

As your hand falls back down, you see a hint of disappointment on Wriggle's face. "Not going to fight? Pity. I suppose that is all your fault, isn't it Hatate?" Grinning widely at the bound girl, she walks forward before tipping her head up by placing a finger under her chin. "First impressions can be a real nuisance, can't they?"

The monster of a girl didn't seem able to resist getting one last dig in on the crow. "Besides, I bet if you were your sister, my little pet over there wouldn't be so placid, would he?" The girl laughs at the tears on Hatate's face, before turning to Margatroid. "Go ahead and take her out of here. I don't want to see her sniveling face in here again."

"I am sure that you won't." Coldly glaring at the girl, Margatroid grabs her by the hand and turns her around. "Move along. I have no desire to pick you up and carry you out of this hole in the ground."

Waiting one last second, Hatate glances back at Wriggle. "But Master, I'll do as best as I can! Trust me! I'll be the best one that I can be!"

"It'd never be enough." Rolling her eyes, Wriggle turns her back on the bird. At that point, the crow just begins to break down, not moving an inch.

Turning around herself, Margatroid's eyes flicker at you as she does so. Seeing the horrified look in your own eyes causes her to stop in her tracks for just a second. Her ears seem to gain the barest hint of color as she looks down, her fists clenching tightly for just a moment. "Beast, get moving. Or I will make you."

Hatate was too consumed in her sobbing to heed her words. Deciding that enough was enough, Margatroid grabs the crow by the shoulder and begins to march her out. "Master! Please! I'll do something good! I'll be as good as her!" You do nothing more than watch the girl, your wings drooping behind you as she continues to cry out. "Master! Please…"

"Annoying little runt, isn't she?" Chuckling, Wriggle waves you on. "Good thing that you have shown some promise, or I might have done something similar with you. Take care that you continue to show the same."

Tilting your head to the side, you stare at her for a few more seconds before slowly responding. "Where is it that you are telling me to go?

The monster girl merely returns your stare for a few seconds before letting out a small hiss. "How stupid are you? Where else could I be telling you to go besides back to where you were before?" Shaking her head, she raises a hand to whap you, but you dart out of the way before it hits. "Don't do that again, or I will make sure that you understand."

Given the way she was currently acting, you weren't sure at all if you wanted to understand her. Instead, you settle with attempting to segue in the conversation. "I assume you're talking about going back to the place that had all the books and random junk?"

"Indeed, I was." Frowning at you still, the girl waves you on. "I shall be coming to fetch you later, as I have many plans for you. But until then, continue the job that I assigned you to, pet. Prove that you are at least of some worth to me, will you?"

As she continued to speak, you began to see a hint of a glow in those eyes. Gulping, you slowly nod before backing away towards the rear of the room, where you could descend back into the depths. "If you so insist, I will do it."

"Good boy. Now get. I have things that I need to be doing, and I do not want you distracting me for now." At that, you immediately turn aside and start walking back down the hall, keeping your body as small as possible while you moved out of the hall.

Once you were done and back heading down the stairs, you shake your head. There is no telling what it is that she is planning, but you will probably find out sooner or later… Gulping once more, you make your way into that old dining hall, if such a cave could be called by a name like that.

As you do, you pause for a moment. There is a chance that your friend could be in the kitchen to your right. As you glance at the doorway, you can see a hint of light coming through. However, you are unable to tell whether it is from the braziers or if it is from the stoves cooking.

However, it is also by now that your rumblings in your stomach make themselves known once again. "…When was the last time I had something to eat?" Sadly, you know when last you used the bathroom, to your eternal shame. Hopefully if Margatroid does prove to be an ally, she will not hold that against you too long.

"I should just decide… This musing is getting me nowhere."

[ ] Go check the kitchen. Maybe Mystia will be there, along with something to eat.
[ ] You've survived this long without food, so who needs it? Go on to the depository, for a better lack of a term.


Oh, and just a little tidbit since we're past that point. If you hadn't met Hatate in that way, the one who would be taken would have been Okuu.
[X] Poke your head in to check if there's anyone inside.
-[X] If there is, greet them appropriately and ask for something quick to eat as you work. If there isn't, grab something yourself.
--[X] Either way, head back to the library afterwards with all haste.

Argh. Now I wish I'd had the chance to get more familiar with WoD. As it is, I only remember something vague about contracts. Guessing no one else here has prior experience with the system either.
[X] Poke your head in to check if there's anyone inside.
-[X] If there is, greet them appropriately and ask for something quick to eat as you work. If there isn't, grab something yourself.
--[X] Either way, head back to the library afterwards with all haste.

Also adding [X] If any of the food down here makes you go crazy for eating and start shedding human bits like a tree sheds leaves in autumn, stop immediately.

Also, I've played some WoD, but mostly Mage. And a lot of Exalted! But Exalted is relatively unrelated.
[X] Poke your head in to check if there's anyone inside.
-[X] If there is, greet them appropriately and ask for something quick to eat as you work. If there isn't, grab something yourself.
--[X] Either way, head back to the library afterwards with all haste.
---[x] Psycho food is bad.

Nope, read Masquerade, but unless we end in the coterie of Scarlet it means nothing.
There was something about 'paradox' when somebody used too much sorcery and shit happening because of that, but the only similar thing was our I AM I speech, so nothing really.
[X] You can go without food for now. What you would rather avoid is Wriggle becoming angry at you; she did seem to mean what she said, with how she said it. Head back to the Depositorium, for lack of a better name for it.
I'm a bit curious.

Is fire a thing ever really mentioned in the story? Like, are there torches and such? Because I'm having this feeling killing Wriggle with fire would be a splendid idea.
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[-e-] Poke your head in to check if there's anybody inside.
-[-e-] If there is, greet them appropriately and ask for something quick to eat as you work. If there isn't, grab something yourself.
--[-e-] Either way, head back to the library afterwards with all haste.
---[-e-] Psycho food is bad.


First things first. You need to get to the depository as soon as you can, but before that, you need to get something to eat. You don't want to turn into a starving beast in the middle of your work, as much as that might amuse Wriggle. You don't know what you'd do then.

Besides, you're hoping that you might see the one friendly face that you know is in this hole in the ground. So, deciding to just peek inside and see if there was anyone home, you walk over to the door and grip the handle, turning it after a moment of listening to what may be inside.

Once open, you stick your head in and glance about. "Anyone home…?" The room is much darker than it was earlier, even darker than the dining hall. However, even if it shouldn't be possible for you, you spot a body moving just in front of you.

To your eternal relief, it is the familiar form of a sparrow from earlier. "Who is it here? Master? It is not time for…" As she speaks, you move into the nearest light source, letting her see who it is.

Silence rules the kitchen for a few seconds as she stops in her tracks, staring at you. Grinning sheepishly, you make a point of raising your right hand so that you don't scare her with anything. "Hey there, Mystia. I came back, just like I—"

Interrupting your impromptu speech, Mystia dashes forward and throws her arms about you, hugging you tightly. "You were real. I had thought that it was just another illusion. But did come back…" As she did, her wings began to flutter back and forth happily, causing a small wind to start to blow in the kitchen. "I had wondered if it was real, and I was beginning to think that it wasn't. But you said that you were coming back for the shirt, yes? And I still have the shirt, which would mean you were coming back…"

Well, with the last distraught girl you couldn't do anything to help her. However, with this one, you can do a few things. Although you don't do much more than pat her on the back, doing your best to calm her hysterics. "I did promise you, didn't I? And you should know that I wouldn't break that."

"I shouldn't… I barely know you…" She has a fair point, as ashamed as you are to admit. This girl barely knows you. Considering how long that Margatroid has been around, how long has this girl? You would hazard to guess that she hasn't been around quite as long, as skittish as she is, but considering how cruel Wriggle has been…

Still, as good as it is to see her, and to see her in one piece, you off the thoughts welling up and ask, "Hey, I'm sorry to break this up, but I really need to get a move on…" The girl freezes next to you as you speak, causing you to wince. "It's nothing about you. Wriggle has just told me to do something…"

"Oh." Sighing, the girl relaxes again, still not moving. "Was worried… Never mind. You're real. That's all that matters…"

By this point, it's becoming obvious that she just wanted to make sure you still exist. However, you feel as if you need to get moving, so you extract yourself to the grip. "Mystia, I do need to get going. I was wondering, though, if there was anything I could eat that was here?"

The girl glances away for a moment, before nodding. "Yes, there is. I just turned the fires off a minute ago. I'll need to get one of them going…"

That wasn't exactly what you were hoping for. "Is there anything that I could eat quickly, that wouldn't take too long? I wouldn't want to get on her bad side again."

Mystia's face contorts as she looks back up at you. "Not really. Unless you want to eat some meat raw. Granted, there are a few seeds…"

At the mention of seeds, you both shiver. "Right. Not going to do that ever again." Good thing you never were that fond of sunflower seeds in the first place. "But I prefer any meat to be well done when I eat it."

Mystia just stares up at you before slowly shaking her head, smiling sadly. "Not anymore you don't." At that, she offers a hand to you. "It won't take too long, trust me. At least let it get to be pretty rare before you leave. Unless you want to eat the seeds…"

[ ] Sure, why not? What else could happen?
[ ] Wait for her to cook the meat. Just make sure it isn't human.
[ ] You don't care. If you can eat it raw now, go ahead and take it.


Remember, I said I was inspired by Changeling. I'm adjusting everything to fit my needs. Don't necessarily assume that one is exactly the same as another. Heed Margatroid's words, in the end.

I mentioned braziers in most of the rooms that are underground. So yes, there are fires that linger all around.

The devil in the mansion has white hair, not blue.
[X] Wait for her to cook the meat, and make sure to ask if it's human. It's best not to tempt the beast within with raw meat, nor risk any further effects from the seeds.
[X] Wait for her to cook the meat, and make sure to ask if it's human.

I never counted on joining the kindred, a "devil" with blue hair would be somewhere with plenty kine and the comfort of the Elysium, instead of a place where only the insane would thread
[X] Wait for her to cook the meat, and make sure to ask if it's human.

Either way, we probably need to meditate on our powers and newfound identity later. If beasts better perceive the world and elementals are in tune with it, I wonder what we are?
[-f-] Wait for her to cook the meat. Just make sure it isn't human.


Well, you're not that dumb to tempt fate so. No seeds are going to be fed into your gullet. While you are tempted to just take the meat raw and g… That move could be even dumber. Do you really want to feed that part of you?

"I'll wait, then." Smiling at her, you reach out and take the proffered hand. "You're the one that knows better than I about these things…" Even as you trail off, you notice that she is no longer paying attention to you. Instead her eyes are focused wide upon your hand.

This time, you had used your left hand.

"W-what happened to you?" Blinking rapidly, her eyes turn back and forth from your hand to your head. "What happened here? Did Margatroid infect you? Is she turning you into… into one of them?"

Fortunately, there seems to be little venom in her voice. However, there is a lot of worry, so you should approach this slow and easily, so as not to scare your friend. "I'll explain what happened. Let's just get moving, because if I don't…"

Slowly, Mystia nods to you as she realizes that she needs to move. "Al-alright then. Come on. I'll find you a seat or something…"

"Don't worry. I'll stand." Reluctantly, Mystia nods before tugging you over to a nearby counter. "It's a long story anyways. And you don't know what else that she did…"

You see rather than feel the increased pressure she puts on your wooden hand. Even then, she says nothing while approaching a nearby counter. "Wait here. I'll go get something…" Still, she is reluctant to let go of you, still wanting that reminder of whom you are, and that you still exist.

After a few long moments, she finally does let go, before flittering away. Exiting back into the side doorway you had once entered through, she leaves you alone in the dark kitchen. Standing awkwardly, you lean against the counter, looking at your hand again. "…Is this hand truly that frightening? Or are the instincts that we have so repulsed by it instead?"

Of course, you don't have much room to talk, do you? The first time you had it on your wrist, you pulled the hand off and tossed it as far away as you could. So, perhaps it was something that was ingrained, rather than anything else.

Before you can descend into musing for too long, the door opens back up, revealing Mystia yet again. In her hands is a rather large hunk of meat, which is oddly enough not dripping blood. A sudden through runs through your mind as you spot the chunk, causing you to ask, "Mystia? Are you sure that it's not another… Person?"

The sparrow blinks at you for a moment before she nods. "It isn't. I've had to cook for the Master enough that I know the difference, just by smell." At that, she drops the slab of meat onto the counter beside you. There is no wet thunk of flesh hitting the rock, though, just the solid chunk of a frozen object hitting it instead. "At least if you trust me…"

Distracted out of that little curiosity, you look back at Mystia. While it is hard to say that you trust anyone completely, the little sparrow has the fewest reasons to be against you. "I trust you not to turn me into anymore of a monster, Mystia."

That statement was rewarded with a small from the girl. "Thank you…" Her wings fluttering to and fro, Mystia turned to the side, before focusing on one of the pits in the middle of the room. "Now the only problem is that I have to get these fires working again."

Tilting your head to the side, you watch as she approaches the pit on the ground. Kneeling down next to it, she reaches forward with one of her talons, dragging it along the edge. "Come on… dispel…"

Before your eyes, you watch as fire begins to form where she trails her fingers. Flames appear along the edge of the pit, before they begin to flare up in the center of the pit. In the span of a few seconds, the fire pit is alive as it was earlier, merrily crackling away.

The girl kneeling down, though, was not nearly in as good of a shape. As she struggles back to her feet, you realize that whatever she did took out more from her than you would have expected. Rushing over, you grab her under the arms and assist her to her feet. "Are you alright? What did you just do?" You never would have expected this girl to be able to summon fire, of all things.

Catching her breath, she leans back into you once more. "Just… dispelling the illusion, for a little while." Looking up at you, she shakes her head. "Takes a lot… out of me."

"I can tell." Biting your lip, you just stand t here, letting her catch her breath as long as is necessary. "I didn't imagine that you were able to do such a thing. Or use any magic at all."

"It's not what I'm supposed to do naturally. If any of this can be called natural." Mystia glances back at the fire before slowly pushing herself off of you. "I… I think that I'll be good. Maybe…"

Taking no chances, you keep one of your hands on her shoulder. Better to be safe than to watch her fall down, maybe being sent tumbling into the fire. Still though, you can't help but be curious at her words. "What is it that you can do? I didn't think I'd see any type of special magic. Wriggle hasn't shown much at all, and I hadn't seen any of the rest of us do anything."

Mystia watches you for a few moments before slowly moving over to the counter, grabbing the meat. "You haven't been here for long. But there is more that she can do than you could imagine… More than I could." Her eyes meet yours, and those feathery ears of hers droop. "You don't want to know what I can do. It's a horrible thing…"

Well, there is little that you can do besides just pressing that point. Are you the type of person who would do that unless it was something dreadfully important? "Alright, I won't ask you." Seeing the small, thankful look on her face, you smile at her as she turns back to the pit.

Now that it is lit, you finally take note of one small detail that you seem to have missed from earlier. In the middle of the pit is a round, black grate, which looks as if it is made from old wrought iron. Upon that grate Mystia drops the slab, taking no time to do anything to treat or season the meat. "Wait for me to get it off. Don't touch the iron. It will burn you."

That might have been a bit of an unnecessary warning, but considering how much your nose liked the scent that was wafting up from the pit, perhaps a good one. "I suppose now is when you'd want me to tell?" At her nod, during which her eyes focus on your hand once more, you begin to explain. "When I arrived there, Maggie wanted to wanted to have tea with me. Since I saw no reason to say no, I accepted."

You see a few feathers bristle at the start of your explanation, but she makes no motion to accuse you. However, the sparrow is confused by one thing. "How does accepting tea mean getting your hand cut off?"

"It doesn't." Shaking your head, you continue to explain. "These hands aren't made for precise actions. When I handled one of her teacups… I dropped it and it broke. She then asked me if I wanted a replacement."

"But she never said what she was going to replace, did she?" A frown mars her face, odd shadows flickering over it due to the flame. Both of her taloned hands reach up to hold your wooden one. "Still, that is just… Was she trying to create some sort of abomination?"

You shake your head, feeling a sense of déjà vu. "No, she wasn't. She was trying to make me less of one by her words. She thought of it as a gift more than anything else."

"How is this a gift? How can you feel anything with a hand like this?"

That, you have no answer for. "I can't. But at least I won't be shattering anything fragile with both of my hands, now. Just the one." Before she can continue her questions, you hold up your other hand. "But that's not the point. Remember that Wriggle sent me there to get something fixed, or at least that's the way she put it."

Mystia begins to shake as you tap the incision on your throat, which was already beginning to vanish. "What did she do to you?"

"She fixed my music box. You know how Wriggle is. If there wasn't anything actually wrong, she still would have insisted that she fix it." Not the best way to put it, but the point is still there.

However, Mystia seems to be completely confused at your remark. Perhaps you should show her exactly what was done to you. It might help her to understand more quickly.

[ ] Speak with the mechanical voice. Even if it might frighten her.
[ ] Speak with Margatroid's voice. You know you can do that.
[ ] Speak with Mystia's voice. Just to see if you can.
[ ] Speak with Wriggle's voice. Maybe that could end up being useful.
[ ] Speak with Amsterdam's Hers isn't audible, can you even do that?
[ ] Don't do anything. Just explain to her better.


And hence the other reason that I am not going to be putting the SDM in this.

Well, that answer is simple. I AM I
[X] Switch between the voices you know. Start with Mystia, followed by Margatroid, followed by Wriggles, and end with the mechanical voice. She wouldn't be able to hear Amsterdam's voice, right? This would make a good test run.
[X] Ask first, and then speak with Mystia's voice. It might lighten her mood a bit, to hear someone mime her.
[X] If not, go with someone else. Maybe Amsterdam's! Or what he imagines Amsterdam's to be.
[X] And then explain in that voice.
[X] "Well, let me explain. Or, would you like me to just show you?"
-[X] Explain clearly if she asks for such.
-[X] If she asks you to show her, speak to her in her voice.
(She doesn't know Margatroid, and Wriggle's voice would just traumatize her.)

Oh god my write-in has become a running gag OOC what have I done.
I wouldn't quite call it a running gag. The write-in was very good, in my opinion. However, all by itself... I AM I explains everything perfectly, if a little amusingly.
[X] "Well, let me explain. Or, would you like me to just show you?"
-[X] Explain clearly if she asks for such.
-[X] If she asks you to show her, speak to her in her voice or switch many voices.
--[x] Don't use Wriggle's.
File 135442431737.png - (389.58KB, 1200x900, this one is just a slight bit worried.png) [iqdb]
[-g-] "Well, let me explain. Or, would you like me to just show you?"
-[-g-] Explain clearly if she asks for such.
-[-g-] If she asks you to show her, speak to her in her voice or switch to other voices.
--[-g-] Don't use Wriggle's.


Best to take it nice and easy. You don't want to spring anything on this girl that might surprise her or frighten her even more than she has been already. Shrugging your shoulders, you lean back against the counter that is behind you, pulling yourself out of the sparrow's grasp. "Firstly, do you want me to explain? Or should I just show you?"

The girl watches you with confusion on her face for a few moments longer before slowly nodding. "Explain… Your music box? What exactly would that mean…"

Sighing softly, you raise your head to look at the ceiling, revealing the incision more clearly. "Margatroid removed my voice box from my throat, and replaced it with something else. A music box. Brass gears spinning a brass drum to be plucked by brass springs." While you speak you listen closely, trying to hear the sounds of the gears moving as you talk. Oddly enough, they are quieter than they were before, although you could possibly write that off as them not being as audible while you were masking your voice.

"The bad thing about the replacement, though, was that I couldn't naturally talk in my normal voice. Instead, I found myself using one that was unnatural. It sounded like I was grinding metal against metal to speak." As you speak, though, you begin to feel the metal rubbing against metal. Unsure of how exactly you could feel it, it is something that you do notice.

Mystia tilts her head to the side, trying to understand. "So your voice was taken away, and replaced by this… box?" She glances past you, and you suddenly feel the cold presence of some type of steel near you. "Would it sound like a knife that is being sharpened against a steel rod? That is what I am most familiar with." Before you answer, she shakes her head. "That still does not answer why you sound just the same as before."

Sighing, you lower your head to look in her eye. "It doesn't. But I had to learn a little trick to do this…" Deciding that an example might be best, you stare at her for a few seconds. You don't know how you could what you are planning, so you work with what you do know. You sounded like Alice when you thought you were she. Now, would you sound like Mystia if you thought you were her? Or would you just have to focus on the sparrow's voice, and try to emulate it?

So you decide to compromise. You take in everything that you can see. You look at the feathered ears, nearly hidden under the hair-like feathers on her head. Slowly, you look at the face, with eyes that are large and staring at you. Dark they are with worry, but their oddly purple depths seem to hide something stronger than what the fear shows.

It is frightening to you how scared she actually is. She knows how to gauge what she knows. After what Margatroid has put you through, though, you are another of those unknowns. She wants to trust you, but is afraid that you might become like Wriggle. Someone that would torment her instead of helping her.

Feeling the sadness coursing through you, your mouth opens on its own volition. "That's why I had to do this…" Mystia's hands shoot up to cover her mouth as her voice slips loose from your tongue, small and light, and nervous at the same time. "I'm not going to hurt you, Mystia. Trust me. Just because all of this has happened to me, it doesn't mean that I plan to hurt you."

Even though the girl understands your words, her wide eyes tell the story of one that is still quite frightened. "How did… Did Wriggle sell my voice to them? Did she put it in your mouth to use?"

"Mystia…" Putting your hands on her shoulders, you look into her eyes, trying to force your voice to float back to its normal, boring tone. After a few more words, you begin to have some success. "Now, calm down and listen to yourself. You still have your own voice, right? I didn't take it from you…"

"I do? …I still do…" Sighing, the sparrow's wings suddenly drooped as she leans forward into you. "…I'm just glad you've not heard what my voice could do. …It'd probably be for the best if it was taken away."

"Don't talk about such things." Patting her on the head, you do your best to ease her worries. "Besides, it wouldn't be possible to take such things away from you."

After a moment, the sparrow glances back up at you. Instead of sadness, though, it is a nearly pitying look. "I wish that were true, Lucas. I wish it was…" She stands there for a while as the seconds drag on, until she looks back up at you. "What does… What does your voice sound like now?" Those eyes look at you, shining slightly in the light. "Without the illusions upon it… What does it sound like?"

You didn't exactly want to let her hear your new voice. If she's asking you directly, though, you probably should go ahead and do it. So, again you try to change your mindset, hoping it will work. Instead of filling your mind with that of another, you try to void it, leaving it bereft of anything that may be human.

It doesn't take long for the musical voice to leave your mouth, the brass strands plucking against the nubs on the drum as it slowly turns. "I̕ s̕houldn'̵t so̡u̡n͢d҉ ͞no̡r͝mal. ͜ Íns͠tead҉ i͏t̵'̸s ̢m͢òr̕e ͡l̕ik̡e̸—"

A warm hand covers your mouth as Mystia continues to stare at you, this time visibly shaking. "D-d-don't do that! Sounds so wrong. Evil. Hurts…" Shivering, she pulls the hand off of your mouth, continuing to watch you oddly. "You sound like… like…"

"Some sort of monster?" At her nod, you sigh and look down at yourself. "Mystia, I think that we're both monsters now…"

"Still, that girl turned you into some kind of… thing." A hateful glare grew in her eye as she looks down at your hand again, her eyes burning. "Wriggle sent you, but that one did this to you…"

Well, this isn't good at all. You know that Margatroid didn't have to mess with the hand, but she has plenty of reasons for the other work. She isn't exactly free to do as she pleases… But what do you say to help her understand that you two aren't the only ones in this situation?

[ ] Defend Margatroid. She isn't free to do what she wants.
[ ] Don't defend Margatroid. She has made this her reputation for a reason.


A write-in might be a good idea here.
[x] There's no blame in the artisan for making it's craft, for it's their living, instead the commisioner who by it's own volition requested the work.
-[x] Worse things could've been done to you, yet you're here standing.

Hoping for the best without spilling too much.
[X] There's no blame in the artisan for making it's craft, for it's their living, instead the commisioner who by it's own volition requested the work.
-[X] Worse things could've been done to you, yet you're here standing.

This is a fair compromise.
[x] There's no blame in the artisan for making it's craft, for it's their living, instead the commisioner who by it's own volition requested the work.
-[x] Worse things could've been done to you, yet you're here standing.
[-h-] There's no blame in the artisan for making it's craft, for it's their living, instead the commisioner who by it's own volition requested the work.
-[-h-] Worse things could've been done to you, yet you're here standing.


"I know why you don't want to like her, but listen to me, Mystia." Looking closely at the girl, you plead to her, hoping that she will at least understand. "Don't blame the artisan for performing their craft. Instead, put the blame on the one who commissions the work."

"What do you mean? That Youkai was the one who did this to you—"

"She may have…" Pausing, you shake your head. "She may have. But who was it that desired to have the work? Mystia, if Wriggle had never made a deal to have the job performed, would I have had this done to me? Would I have even met that Youkai? Or would I have been just the same?"


"But nothing." Pointedly, you reach down for her hand, clasping it in the one of yours that is wooden. "Mystia, tell me that it couldn't have been worse. Imagine if she had done something else. What else could have been replaced besides my hand and my voice?" Pulling the hand up, you place hers against the side of your head, the talons tickling the feathers on the side of your head. "Could she have replaced my mind with cogs and gears, making her a completely obedient slave?"

Pulling the hand down, you place it against your chest. "Could it have been my heart that was replaced? If I can't feel with my hand, imagine what I couldn't feel if it was what I had lost…"

As cheesy as that sentiment might have been, it seems to have done the trick where your earlier words hadn't. Instead of looking at you nervously, the sparrow is blushing slightly, her wings flapping to move some air through the warm room. "Nothing at all…"

"Exactly." Still, you don't concentrate on that. You need to hammer the point home. As easy as it could be to expose Margatroid's true position, you'll hold on to that card for later. As you glance over her shoulder at the meat, which is just starting to sizzle, something pops into your head. "Put it this way. You've had to cook people for Wriggle, yes? Would you want to be blamed for doing it? Or would you want them to blame her for making you cook them?"

Mystia's eyes widen in alarm once again as she shakes her head. "It's not my fault… I didn't want to do it, but I had to…" Gripping your wooden hand tightly, you imagine that you would have felt some pain if you could still feel anything from it. You are thankful that she is not gripping it quite enough to crack the wood, if such a thing was even possible for her.

"I know it's not your fault. So don't worry about it. Trust me, ok?" The girl continues to grip onto your hand, babbling softly under her breath. You just stand there, patting her shoulder with her other hand as she finally regains control of herself. "You've never had the chance to let this all out to someone, have you?"

"…Not really…" Eventually, though, the girl does taper off, her body slowly not shaking. "I think I understand what you mean. It's just… It's all her fault. No matter what. Isn't it?"

"It is." Sighing, you shake your head. "That it is…"

Whatever reverie you may be in now is broken when her nose starts to twitch. "What is… Oh dear, the meat is starting to burn!" Turning around immediately, she nearly swats you in the head with those wings of hers as she examines the slab. "…It's not too bad. Salvageable, at least. Sometimes I forget how hot these fires are…"

Wiping the sweat off of her brow, she turns around and pushes you gently to the side. Reaching for a skewer on the counter, she picks it up before approaching the meat. "Not too bad. You'll probably not like it though. It's been browned a fair amount."

Even as she speaks, she plucks it from the flames. Turning about once again, she drops the meat on the countertop. "Now, if you want me to, I can go get another and properly get it done…"

[ ] Well, she knows how the changes affect you. If your new body won't accept it, then you probably shouldn't eat it.
-[ ] Ask if there's anything you can do for her, so that you can be a bit helpful.
[ ] You're on the clock, and you need to get going. You'll take what is here.
-[ ] Is it possible to get some utensils? …Or a plate?
-[ ] (Anything else as you leave?)
[X] You're on the clock, and you need to get going. You'll take what is here.
-[X] Is it possible to get some utensils? …Or a plate? Perhaps you could get a knife to cut off the burnt parts right here?
-[X] You're not sure when you'll next be able to see her again, so tell Mystia hang in there.

A little encouragement can go a long way. Hopefully.
[X] You're on the clock, and you need to get going. You'll take what is here. On that note, is there a knife around that you could use to remove the burnt parts? You would rather not use your claws for that, if you can help it.
[x] You're on the clock, and you need to get going. You'll take what is here.
-[x] Is it possible to get some utensils? …Or a plate? Perhaps you could get a knife to cut off the burnt parts right here?
-[x] You're not sure when you'll next be able to see her again, so tell Mystia hang in there.
File 135447819167.jpg - (156.94KB, 993x660, time to stab some meat.jpg) [iqdb]
[-i-] You're on the clock, and you need to get going. You'll take what is here.
-[-i-] Is it possible to get some utensils? …Or a plate? Perhaps you could get a knife to cut off the burnt parts right here?
-[-i-] You're not sure when you'll next be able to see her again, so tell Mystia hang in there.


"I'll take it, Mystia. Don't worry. I'd rather have something in my stomach, even if it's not the best, than worry about Wriggle breathing down my neck."

The girl nods along, sadly looking at the ground. "You're right. Sorry that I screwed this up so much…"

"Hey now, it's not your fault." Smiling softly, you pat her on the shoulder. "I'm not going to do what she did to you, just because you didn't do something completely right. I'm not that kind of person."

Mystia nods slowly, before glancing back at the slab of meat. "I still wish I did better. I try so hard for her, why shouldn't I do the same for you?"

Sighing, you decide that it is best to try and move the conversation along. "Mystia, as I said, don't worry about it. Besides, you were somewhat distracted by something that is more important…" Before she can respond, you cut her off. "Now, is there anything that I can use to eat? …A plate? A fork? Even a knife?"

Blinking at you for a few seconds, she slowly nods before flitting away. "We do… But I didn't think you'd actually want it. Most of us tend to just eat with our bare hands…" Considering the teeth that you now have, you don't suppose that's too crazy of an idea. You don't want to fall to such lows, though. Not to mention what it might do to the beast within.

"I'd rather not, if I have the choice." You avert your eyes as she bends down low to searching through some cabinets, eventually pulling out an old wooden plate. At the same time, she pulls out an odd metal skewer along with another knife.

Unlike the one that still lies behind you, this one feels different. If such a term could be used, you almost feel something raw within it. You don't get much of a chance to think on it, though, as Mystia immediately comes back and moves past you, putting the plate down and placing the meat on it for you.

"Here, go ahead, and take it." With one hand, she offers you the plate and skewer, which you readily do take. Her other one, though, still grips the wooden handle of the knife tightly. "And take this. Just… Don't touch the blade. Trust me."

"What's wrong with that?" Carefully, you pluck said knife from her fingers, taking a closer look at it as you do as much. It doesn't appear to be fancy at all. The only thing that you can tell with your eyes is that it's old. "Is there something special about it?"

"Not really. It's just an old iron knife. …I prefer to use it when I eat. It makes cutting easier…" The bird crooks a small smile at you. "It would hardly be fair to keep your shirt and not offer something in return… right?"

You return the smile, setting the knife on the plate. "Right. Thank you for that. Just don't think this gets you out of returning it when we get out of here. Right?"

"When we do… Yes, when." The girl stares at you for a few seconds, before shaking her head. "You should go. Best not to tarry too long."

"I will." Turning about, you walk towards the door. At the very last second, though, you spin back around, facing her. "Mystia… Hang in there, alright? I don't know when I'll be able to see you again…"

The sparrow nods to herself, glancing away. "Wriggle prefers to keep us busy. Even if it is menial work… And if we're not good enough, we're punished for it." Sighing, she looks back. "I'll try to find you if I can. That way… That way we may be able to figure something out, right?"

"That's the spirit." Smiling at her again, you push the door open, and close it behind you. As you do, you meet her eyes one last time, before closing your own as you shut it. "Goodbye for now, Mystia."

Even though you want to sigh in frustration, you hold it in, before quickly walking to your destination. Crossing the room to the other side of the hall, you move into that dark room where you had found Mystia long ago. Skirting around the debris that seemed to still litter its depths, you find the door opposite of you and open it up.

Again, you are back in that hallway. Glancing to the right, you recognize the route that leads to Wriggle's rooms. Too bad you don't know where she is, or it might be worth digging around to see if you can find anything. Instead, you turn to your left and approach the depository, forcing open the doors with one hand as you keep the plate balanced in the other.

The room beyond is still an enormous mess, littered with the garbage of a thousand years in every single direction, but mostly upwards above you. Shaking your head, you approach a nearby table, setting the plate down as you look about the mess. There's not telling what you can do now.

"Wait a second… Wasn't there another bird here?" Looking about, you do not see where that one from earlier could be. So with a shrug, you slump down in a nearby chair and continue to stare at the chaos. "I guess not. I just have to get to work sooner or later. But doing what…?"

[ ] Eat first. Then do something.
[ ] Do something as you eat. You can come back between trips.
[ ] Might as well get something done before you stare, right?


[ ] Start with the armor and various crap on the ground. It's taking up the most space.
[ ] What about the books? There may be hundreds upon hundreds, but at least you know what you're dealing with.
[ ] Some combination? Although that can't be efficient…


[ ] Do something else instead of work?


There are no forks, in case I wasn't clear. Just skewers.
[X] Do something as you eat. You can come back between trips.
-[X] Start with the armor and various crap on the ground, but be careful with the armor. Whatever it is, it seemed to hurt to touch it.
[X] Do something as you eat. You can come back between trips.
[X] Start with the armor and various crap on the ground. It's taking up the most space.

That knife-- there're only a few Touhous I know who use a knife. And it's definitely not Sakuya's...


Either that, or it's a cold iron knife, which means it could do all sorts of /awful/ things to fae.
[X] Do something as you eat. You can come back between trips.
-[X] Start with the armor and various crap on the ground, but be careful with the armor. Whatever it is, it seemed to hurt to touch it.
[x] Do something as you eat. You can come back between trips.
-[x] Start with eating a good chunk.
[x] What about the books? There may be hundreds upon hundreds, but at least you know what you're dealing with.

Inb4 the Ibis eats our food.
So, are we reactive to Iron?
File 135448734956.jpg - (1.88MB, 540x13700, Tick tock.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Eat first. Then do something.
[x] Start with the armor and various crap on the ground. It's taking up the most space.

I'm a little late, but Remilia did have white hair in EoSD, even if it was blue in later games. Alternatively, I'm guessing you're using the story presented in this linked comic.
True, she did. But I should have specified it as the current iteration having blue hair. What I referred to is a much worse fate for the residents than what you showed there.

At least in that one, Sakuya is good.
[-j-] Do something as you eat. You can come back between trips.
-[-j-] Start with the armor and various crap on the ground, but be careful with the armor. Whatever it is, it seemed to hurt to touch it.


Best to compromise on the food. As hungry as you are, you'd prefer to sit down and devour it all in one go. However, considering who might be coming to see you at any moment, you instead decide to simply eat a little bit, and then start. The food will be sitting here the whole time, anyways.

"At least this way I'll be able to see if this makes me sick, or if it's just bad…" Sighing, you reach forward with a knife, and cut off a rather sizable chunk of the meat. "Odd. It doesn't look that bad. It just seems to be a bit rarer than I would normally care for. Beggars can't be choosers, though…"

However, once you place it in your mouth and take a bite, you realize how badly it does taste. "It feels like… I don't know. Too well done. Too tender… There's… There's no blood…" You gulp down the whole chunk soon after, and can't help but stare as the entire slice makes its way down your throat. "…Why did I do that, though? I should chew… That thing was much too large to… Wait a moment."

Setting down the skewer, you open your mouth and insert one of your fingers to begin and feel around. As you do, you realize that you no longer have any teeth left to chew your food. Every single one seems instead designed to rip and tear flesh. "…I really am some sort of monster. Is that why it is awful? It looks undercooked, but it tasted like it was made of char."

Double-checking, you pick up the knife and run it over the meat, seeing if any char does come off. "No flakes… Damn. It must be my sense of taste that's messed up." Well, no sense in trying to force down any more at the moment. You don't want to know if you'd be able to do such a thing, anyways. "Let's get to work then…"

Turning back to the mess, your eyes catch glimpse of the armor and other equipment that seems to be littered about the floor. "Well, let's do that first. At least then I could walk around… Might make it easier to access the shelves, too."

Granted, you don't know where exactly she wants those placed. Considering the big mess, it might be best to simply separate everything first, and then decide what to do with it.

As you approach the pile, your eyes fall on the one thing that had bothered you earlier. "What's a suit of armor doing down here, anyway?" A few thoughts come to mind. What if that damned Youkai had captured a knight in some point in history? You don't think she is the kind that resort to simple petty theft, as why would she care?

"Whatever it is, I need to be careful." Your mind turns back to earlier, when you had touched the armor and ended up being injured in the process. "What could be so special about it that it harmed me?" Initially, you suspect that it would be because there was some silver in it, but you toss that idea away. "I'm not some sort of werewolf, so that wouldn't be the case…"

Sighing, you decide to just cut your losses. "If I can't touch it, I need some way to handle it instead. Is there a cloth here…" Glancing around the room, you see an old rug or tapestry that is lying in one of the corners. "Well, if she doesn't care that it's over there, I won't care about using it."

Quickly, you walk over and grab it, before pulling the heavy rug back with you almost easily. Without even pausing, you throw the rug about the armor, making sure that it was wrapped up well enough to pick up.

Once you have determined that the entire thing was covered up, with no chance of it falling down and risking a similar injury as earlier, you wrap your arms around the suit of armor and hoist it up. "…This is way too easy. That thing has to weigh at least a hundred pounds."

You waddle over to the corner of the room awkwardly, more because of the sheer size of the larger suit against your body than any difficulty in picking it up. Once you reach the wall, you set it against the side and ensure that there is no danger of it tipping over. "Well, that wasn't hard at all. Am I that much stronger, just because of the transformation?"

You look down at your mismatched hands as you wonder the answer to that question. "I can wait on that for now. That'd be something I can't test, anyways. Just need to get back to work…" As you turn around, you see something shining under a nearby pile. It looks oddly out of place, considering most everything here seems to be old and at least dull, if not rusted.

[ ] Odd… Go and check it.
[ ] It's nothing. One pile at a time.
[X] Odd… Go and check it.
[X] Odd… Go and check it.

[x] Odd… Go and check it.
-[x]Take a quick look to see if your food is still where you left it

Shiny stuff is always interesting.
Also, don't leave your food unnatended.
[x] Odd… Go and check it.
-[x] Take a quick look to see if your food is still where you left it.
File 135450110725.png - (47.91KB, 766x572, whose could this be?.png) [iqdb]
[-k-] Odd… Go and check it.


Well, there is no reason for you to not go and check it. As much work as you have to do, even getting some of the mess somewhere all sorted out would do wonders for your progress.

Besides, such a thing might be interesting. So, without much reluctance on your part, you walk over to one of the many piles that surround the room. Now that you've moved, you can no longer see the glint. However, you do remember that it was there, so you begin digging through the pile quickly.

It doesn't take long for you to realize that there are all sorts of trinkets in here. They seem to be trophies of some sort, buried in a pile of old clothing. There are small brass fittings littered everywhere, along with old carved boxes. Jewelry seems to be littered in every single one, having been tossed from its drawers where they had lain safely.

"Odd… There's nothing particularly interesting here. Just a bunch of old necklaces and rings." Maybe you were wrong about her being a petty thief. There is way too much that is here that could be explained away. "She must have raided some house… But why would she take all this? It doesn't make that much sense."

Shrugging the question off, you set the boxes to the side, putting the gold and silver to the side, along with anything that might have originally been from it. At least they'll have somewhere to go once this is all over…" Once done, you begin to dig through the old clothing, tossing it into its own pile as you go through.

Your hands eventually come across something round and hard, and you think that you have struck pay dirt. Gripping the object, you pull it out and take a closer look. You immediately blanch as your clawed hand pulls a skull out of the pile. "Oh my… Are all these piles what she stole from someone that she killed?"

Nobody answers your question, and you simply sit there for a moment, staring into the skull's eye sockets. "Who were you, and why did she kill you?" Your eyes trail back to the pile, and you slowly let out a sigh. "I am who that I am, but I can't wonder who you once were."

However much you couldn't prevent the pity in your heart from forming, you still had to move along. Taking the skull, you set it gently upon the pile of clothes that you can only surmise were hers at one point. "I'm sorry about this…"

Doing your best to ignore the skull that you could feel staring you down, you dig deeper and deeper into the pile. Tossing aside a straw sunhat, you see that similar glint once more. "There you are…" Tossing aside a few more random pieces of junk, your mouth drops open.

A scythe is lying there at the bottom of the pile, its wicked curve glinting in the light. A blood-red handle is connected to the shining blade, which oddly snakes along the floor below it, not in the manner that a simple scythe should have a straight handle.

Looking back at the blade, you realize that this is no simple scythe, though. The blade, instead of being on the inside, is located on the outside. "What purpose would that serve?" Staring closer, you see a few dark stains on the blade itself, which answers your question moments after you ask it.

Now even more curious, you pick up the blade. The moment your hand touches the blade itself, you feel it burning. Yanking your hand away, you look at it in amazement. Your wooden hand managed to feel pain from that, which was odd enough. But there was nothing on the weapon to suggest it would burn you. "It's not on fire, and it doesn't appear to be coated in poison. What good would poison do on a wooden hand, though?"

Shrugging the question off, you take a closer look. Before you can do, though, a head with a large beak pops in front of you. "Stupid birdie! Stupid birdie!"

Jumping slightly, you raise your clawed hand towards the bird, intent on swiping at it if it did anything else. However, it just stands there, slowly blinking at you. "Stupid birdie!"

"I get that…" Sighing, you shake your head. "Now, what do you want? Or can I get back to work?"

"Awww! Awww!" Not that it helps you much listening to the bird. IF it ever was a human, it seems to have forgotten to talk. However, as it does squawk, it thrusts its beak back towards where you came from.

Staring at it for a moment, you sigh. "You want me to get something for you, don't you?"

"Smartie birdie!" Hopping up on one foot, it keeps poking its beak in the direction of its table. You don't have any idea of what it would want, but still stand and walk over towards the table.

"Now, what would you want?"

[ ] It's a bird. It probably wants food.
[ ] Maybe a random shiny trinket over here?
[ ] The knife, perhaps?
[ ] The skewer?
[ ] This other random shiny trinket?
[ ] There are a lot of books here...


Re-edited for clarity.
[X] It wants this knife. TO THE GUT.

[X] There are a lot of books here...

If I wanted you to be stabbed, the option would have been to Kiss Sakuya
[x] There are a lot of books here...

That's silly, birds (this one at least doesn't) don't have lips
The food would've already been eaten, and there are too many trinkets to guess.
[-l-] There are a lot of books here…


Well, if you had to pick something at random, you might as well pick something that isn't too out of place. If the ibis is as smart as you're assuming, it would show you personally. So it is not some random trinket that you have no idea what to do with.

"Well, the food is still here…" Indeed, your slab of meat, as you don't think that it could be called a steak, is still sitting there with no additional chunks torn off of it. "Well, it's not giving me any more problems, so might as well take a bite while I'm here."

Doing so, you hastily swallow another chunk of meat, ignoring how nasty it takes to your new tongue. Leaving the rest of it be, you begin to search around the general area. "Alright, what is it that she wants…" About the only thing that is nearby is the massive pile of books, next to the shelves full of books.

"Maybe one of these?" Shrugging, you reach into the pile and yank one of them out, placing it in your wooden hand as you look at the cover. Said cover is old and leather, and seems to be quite unremarkable, save for the fact that there's no title. "Another oddity. Those seem to be adding up…"

Shrugging it off, you walk back towards the ibis, who now seems determined to put one of the hats you found moments ago on her head. "Will you stop that? You know that it won't fit you!"

"Pretty birdie!" Sighing, you just shake your head. You have to wonder if this bird is just that: a bird. Even if Wriggle said it was another of her pets, it could be a human so far gone that they don't even remember that they are a bird.

Still, you've done what it asked you to do. "Here's your book. This is what you wanted, yes?" The bird turns to look at you, her eyes focusing on it for a moment. It nods quickly, before poking it with its beak. "Yeah, yeah, here you go…"

Setting it on the ground, the ibis flutters over to it. "Awww! Awww! Smartie birdie!" Laughing off its antics, you turn back to the pile as the bird attempts to open the cover of its book with its long beak.

"Good luck with that…" You continue to dig through the pile, seeing no reason to discontinue your search. However, whatever you find there is not much more exciting that the scythe. There are just a few more garments that have long been discarded along with more valuables that are soon set with the jewelry.

Staring at it all, you do nothing more than shake your head. "What could this all mean? I have no idea what to do with this but put it up." Turning to the skull, which was now accompanied by a few extra bones, you sigh once more. "Not like I'm doing any good here by just thinking. If I only knew the why…"

"Then perhaps stupid birdie could ask smart and pretty birdie, instead of standing around like a discombobulated pigeon."

[ ] Oh. You aren't just a stupid ibis who likes to speak like a parrot?
[ ] Oh. You are awake. That's… good.
[ ] Oh. Now who's the stupid birdie?
[ ] Oh. Are you going to tell me, or are you going to sit there all night.
[ ] Oh. Perhaps I should find out more.
[ ] Oh. say can you see?
[ ] Oklahoma.


I have to wonder how many would have taken the option, if I had given it. Lips or no.
[ ] Oklahoma.

[X] Oh. You aren't just a stupid ibis who likes to speak like a parrot. Huh.
-[X] So could you help me?
[x] Oh. Finally I can get some directions, thought you were only an Ibis who liked to speak like a parrot.

At least it can talk?
[x] Oh. Finally I can get some directions, thought you were only a particularly pretty Ibis who liked to speak like a parrot.

Flatter /ALL/ the birds.
[x] Oh. Finally I can get some directions! I thought you were just a particularly pretty Ibis who liked to speak like a parrot.
Pfft. Sure, why not.
Change >>26622 to >>26624.
So who is the Ibis?

File 135456265488.jpg - (142.04KB, 850x1048, are you that determined to hit this?.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Oh. Finally I can get some directions; thought you were only a particularly pretty Ibis who liked to speak like a parrot.


"Oh, wonderful." Sighing, you don't even bother to turn around to the sound of the new girls loping voice. "At least now I can get some directions. Here you had me thinking that you were only a particularly pretty ibis who liked to speak like a parrot."

"Shouldn't you bother to put your eyes upon me before you make such judgments?" The voice of the bird seems rough, as if unused to speaking the human tongue. "Shan't say that you're the most terribly attractive one. But I'm sure that any chicks we could make would be quite lovely."

Your face burns as the bird continues to speak. "Just wait a minute now…" Turning around, you look at where the bird was. Instead, there seems to be a young girl, just slightly smaller than even Wriggle. Her wings lazily flap in the still air of the room, while the third wing on her head flaps from side to side. "Wait a second. Why do you have three wings?"

"The better to bamboozle you with, my dear." Still, the girl curiously tilts her head to the side, gazing at you. "Hardly something that is a particular conundrum. One that is perhaps more pertinent is the question as to why we still have teeth. After all, avians have never been well known for their dental work. Except roosters." She began to stroke her chin in thought. Your eyes widen at the sight of rather familiar claws on the end of her hand.

"That's nice and all, but could we get back to the point?" Sighing, you shake your head as you watch the girl begin to chitter under her breath. "You said I could ask you?"

"Something? Yes, there are many things to ask. What is the one of highest importance at this very moment in time?" The girl claps her hands together. "Ah, yes! We were talking about the prospect of mating. 'Twould be an acceptable proposal, I do suppose. I am unsure as to what species of avian you have become, so it would be interesting if we could create viable offspring, or if they would be mutated little chicks that grow up to be face-eating monsters!"

"…What?" You shake your head, staring at the girl in disbelief. "Now, I wasn't suggesting that. I was just trying to flatter you…"

"I know that." The girl blinks, and then rushes forward, standing next to you. "However, further discussion is pointless, is it not? However, I do believe that I must sadly decline."

At her sudden movement, you take a step back, and the girl automatically takes a step closer. "You… must?"

The ibis nods sagely, staring at you as her third wing beats back and forth. "I must. Even if I am in a rather open relationship with a couple of ceiling chairs, along with a well-endowed bookcase, I feel that the inclusion of another wooden lover might make them feel jealous. They all have wooden legs, but you would be the first to have wooden hands."

Right. Shot down because she is in a relationship with furniture. "Actually, it's only the one hand… Why am I even arguing this with you? This is not what I wanted to talk about."

"Then why did you bring it up?" Sniffing again, she shakes her head. "How exciting it would have been, especially as you seem to be in an open relationship as well. Would have been especially interesting, as would seeing the actions as you proverbially screw the ones you have screwed."

"Now wait just a moment! Where in the world are you getting off on that?"

"Currently, I am not getting off on it. If I had to do such a thing, it would be with my bookcase friend." Idly, she points towards the distance high above you, to a point you can barely see.

"…I meant is where you get that sort of idea…"

"Oh. Well, you do know that their scent is all over you? It would be something that is hard to miss. Unless you are so comfortable with them that you no longer even notice."

Considering you don't even know what you alone are supposed to smell like, compared to a bunch of other girls, you don't even try to find out. "Sometimes it's just because people are being friendly with each other. Not because they are… mating."

The ibis tilts her head to the other side? "Really? One would think that copulating would be a natural progression to the show of expression. However, you limit yourself before it is achieved, instead consenting with dancing around while you string along others. How plebeian."

"Can we please move on from this talk about sex?" You feel a headache beginning to come on as what appears to be a young girl stares at you curiously. "I wanted to get some directions…"

"Very well. To where? There is no moon, but if there were, the best directions would be to go up." Pausing, she begins to count off on her clawed fingers as she glances up at the ceiling. "The best direction to get out of here is probably whence you came, although that is merely the shortest and most watched route. The best way to the Master's chambers are through the tunnels in your quarters, although if you go through that way be prepared for whatever shows up on the other end."

"Er…" Scratching your head, you can't help but stare at her. "Not to interrupt this train wreck of a conversation, but what would I need to be prepared for?"

A scowl comes over the girl's face as she begins to shake in rage. "Geraniums! Nasty flowers. Ugly ones, too. And they have an uglier name!"

"Do these flowers… Do anything bad?"

"They exist!" The girl shivers even more as she gnashes her teeth together. "Such an abominable existence, they are! If it were up to me, I would have plucked them from their roots, so I may take their stems and create a wreath to wear atop my nose."

You resist the urge to bash your face against the nearest wall. "Right. Well, what about this. Can you explain something to me?"

Her face shifts immediately, going from rage to curiosity in a second. "But you just said you wished for directions. Now you want explanations, when you have not even proffered a question for my first line of thought. Are you trying to trick me?"

As she stares at you with a gimlet eye, you can't help but to shake your head. "Are you sure it's not the other way around?" Snorting in derision, you try to think of a good question. "Best to get the simple things out of the way. What is your name?"

However, instead of responding immediately, the girl cocks her head up, rubbing her chin. "Hrm, a name… Master is quite fond of calling me stupid bird. Although I am not adverse to hey, you! Also, damned fool and idiot and bitch have been some of my less common appellations, although they have been used."

Of course, it could never be that simple. "Right… Well, what is it that you call yourself?"

The bird tilts her head to the side as she stares at you curiously once more. "Why would I need to call myself anything? I am perfectly aware of whom that I am, except on the numerous occasions when I do not." Shrugging, she glances up and begins to brush her third wing over her nose, as if trying to dust something off with it. "After all, I am I, so why else would I need some arbitrary designation."

By now you have a rather magnificent headache due to attempting to keep up with this girl. It does help that you're starting to sound like a broken record as you try to find something she'll respond in a mostly sane way towards. "…Right. Well, what is it that you would prefer me to call you by?"

"Oh, well, why didn't you say so in the first place?" The girl falls into deep thought, her eyebrows knitting together in confusion. "Sometimes it is hard for my peers to keep up with me. You might wish to work on your mental acrobatics. Not to mention your linguistics. You were not quite clear in your speech." Sighing, she begins to shake her head. "I am a little crested ibis… So how about Tokiko? You may call me that."

That's a name that you haven't heard before. It's probably some foreign language that you don't know, or it's one language that humans don't speak. As much as you hate yourself for asking, though, you find yourself curious. "I've never heard a name quite like that. What does that mean?"

"Little crested ibis."

Go figure.

[ ] Move along. Ask about the dead girl's remains and possessions.
[ ] Hold up. She mentioned something about ways out?
[ ] Wait a moment. There's a secret passage down to Wriggle's chambers?
[ ] Hang on, babe. Are you sure you can't make an exception? Wrong board for that. Not like that will keep some of you from voting for it anyways.
[ ] Something else you are curious about? (Insert option here)


Sometimes I just love anon for these write-ins.
[X] Hold up. She mentioned something about ways out, and secret passages? This may be useful to know!
[X] Hold up. She mentioned something about ways out, and secret passages? This may be useful to know!

If this becomes another 5 questions rapid, I'm planning to ask about why the armor and the scythe harm us on contact.
I'm not into NTR, the bookcase can see us, for Kanako's sake
[x] Move along. Ask about the dead girl's remains and possessions.

>a straw sunhat
>dat scythe
R.I.P. Elly.
>ceiling chairs

Someones been playing Borderlands 2, it seems.
Oh my God that is the best Tokiko.

[x] Move along. Ask about the dead girl's remains and possessions.

Because I kind of want to know, you know. Also, that secret passage leads to flowers. Which might mean an encounter with a particularly Youkai-like Youkai, especially since we've apparantly found Elly's old stuff.

We might want to see about learning to use it proeperly. She might just have been a representation of Death, after all.
Gonna go ahead and wait for the tiebreaker. Could flip a coin, but I'll be a bit more patient and take some time.

Perhaps I have been. You're lucky I didn't throw in a comment about Lucas smelling like bacon. You know what that would mean.

Also, who can see Nitori taking the role of Gaige?
[x] Ask about the dead girl's remains.
File 135459157567.jpg - (242.97KB, 300x600, no seriously - i want to know if you are.jpg) [iqdb]
Looks like I got sloppy last update. That was m update, so this is n. Not going to punish ya for my mistakes. …Not gonna skip to the end either, so no bright ideas!

[-n-] Move along. Ask about the dead girl's remains and possessions.


Well, that previous conversation was not going to lead to anything fruitful if you allow it to continue onwards. So, judging the words carefully in your head, you eventually ask her about the present question, keeping the rest of what she said in her mind for later. "So, can you tell me anything at all about who this used to be?"

"I can." She tilts her head to the side, staring at you with curious eyes. "Although, I do not know if I should. I do not know if you are some sort of necrophiliac. What if you just want to know what her three sizes were so you can do something rather inappropriate with her desiccated and dismantled bones?"

With every word she speaks, you feel your face getting redder and redder. "That's… You… Would you…" Sighing, you slap your hand to your forehead, ignoring the feeling of your claws bouncing against your scalp. "That is not what I want to ask you about! I just want to know if you will tell me anything at all about who this girl used to be!"

The bird judges you for a moment as her headwing flaps back and forth. "Not too much, I am most certainly afraid. Her body was just dust and bones upon this plane when I was brought here, back when I was a young and impertinent whelp."

Under your breath, you can't help but to add, "You still are…"

That elicits an odd reaction from the girl. "Really? Why, thank you much. I shan't help but tell you to be careful with your words, though. The walls can smell everything that you say." Pausing just long enough to register your confusion, she continues. "This girl was nothing too interesting. No particular wonderful plumage as I myself have, and of which you should certainly take note. Pretty athletic, though, by the structure of her bones. Probably well taken care of for a servant, although that is not too unlikely as she was one of the fairest."

You blink for a moment as you take that all in. "Fairest?"

"Of them all. But I am not talking about myself, you flatter." Holding the book up, she begins to trace around the edges. "Of course, fairest like to think themselves better than the rest of us. However, I know that I am indeed better than they."

"Isn't that a little vain of yourself to say such a thing?"

"Why yes, it is. Good of you to point out my hypocrisy. However, it does not shun the truth." The girl shifts her legs, swapping one as she grins. "After all, I have what appears to be a male or what appears to be one, determining which would require examination open offer, standing in front of me and throwing his body upon mine."

Nearly growling in frustration, you turn your head away from the girl. "Will you stop talking about sex and give me a straight answer?"

"I'm a bird. I don't think much about eating, sleeping, singing, and mating. Although, I do have a terrible singing voice. Ask Mystia; she was rather horrified the last time she came in here and I was singing such a sweet tune. Scarred the poor bookcase for life, I do believe."

Scrunching your face up, you look down at the girl's remains. "You don't look like a bird to me. But how about this question, instead? Please tell me how the girl died."

"She was killed."

You look at the girl's face for a few moments, before sighing. "Can you tell me anything else?"

"People die when they are killed."

"Tokiko." Glaring at her, you fix your hands to your side. "Enough. Will you elaborate on how this girl met her end?"

"Perhaps. But I was wishing to discuss the metaphysical repercussions and philosophical conundrums of what exactly makes a bird. My current favorite answer involves something around being a miserable pile of feathers." She blinks for a moment, before stoking her chin. "Perhaps I shall have to compare how many feathers I molt with previous years. Then I can see if I am any more of a bird than in previous years."

"I don't think it matters how much you molt… Wait. I'm not here to debate this." Shaking your head again, you look at her steadily. "Now, how did she die?"

Tokiko just looks at you blankly for a few seconds, before shrugging. "She was a fairest, so it could have been many different things. Most likely that she was eaten up by a horde of locusts or something similar, leaving nothing but their bones for me to nibble on."

Blankly, you stare at her some more as you try to articulate words. "You, you chew on her?"

"No, I do not. Do you take me for some sort of stupid bird? There's nothing left on that skeleton to consume."

"Right…" Sighing, you shake your head. "So, a bunch of… bugs consumed her?"

"How else would our Master defeat her?" A superior smirk grew upon her face as you feel her staring down at you. "That girl was not a darkling. I can feel it in the bones. So, the Master could not have simply dropped her drawers and shined her luminescent buttocks upon the girls face, drowning her with the strength of that rather underwhelming full moon."

However pointless it may have been, you can't help but to ask about that. "Wriggle… Has a glowing butt?"

"She is a firefly. What else do you expect for her to have? A rainbow-colored one?" Not giving you a chance to answer, she shakes her head. "Now, do tell why you are so determined to know whom this girl was once upon a time? Did you perhaps fancy her? Why would you want a skeleton when you could have something a lot wetter?"

Pinching your nose, you decide that perhaps ignoring her talk of that would be better than calling out how she had earlier said she was going to turn you down. "I just want to know. She had to be fighting Wriggle, so she couldn't have been that bad. Perhaps even had once been an ally." You bite your lip as you stare at the corpse some more. "Not to mention that I'm wondering what's in the scythe to make it hurt me at its touch…"

"Well, that is an easy one!" That superior look covers her face once more as she grins at you. "It hurts you because it is designed to kill our kind. Why else would it?"

"Well, shouldn't that mean there is a specific composition that makes it particularly lethal? Or is it coated in some kind of acid…"

Tokiko's headwing flutters in the air as she stares at you, pity on her face. "Please. You are thinking too much in twists and turns. Think straightforward instead, or your mind will get twisted upon itself. That would be bad, as mental knots always do take a lot of effort for one to manually untangle. Especially the part about removing the skull without killing the one within."

"…Right." Well, nothing more to ask along that path. At least, nothing that would get a straight answer in most cases, unless you want to spend all day trying to make heads or tails of the girl's speech. "So, since the blade is made the way it is, it's supposed to be lethal?"

"Not quite. But that is the belief. And belief is a rather important thing in this world. Along with sausage. Nice and sizzling, and we always have a short supply of it…"

"I wouldn't take you for one to eat sausage."

She shoots you another derisive look before tracing her book once more. "Hardly. Why would I eat sausage? Then there would be none left for me to enjoy. Book bindings are more nutritional, after all. Leather will take you a long way. Although, the tastiest is a raw frog as it wriggles down your throat. The same probably could be said with most small reptiles."

"Right. If you say so…" You shiver at the thought of eating something like that. At least that means that you won't have to worry about her stealing your food, as nasty as it is. "So, to get it straight… It's lethal to us… because it is?"

"Nope! It's lethal because it's lethal. After all, shouldn't you know this? You possess a weapon with the same characteristics upon yourself." Clucking her tongue, she stands up and approaches you. "However, perhaps this can help you understand my argument, as poorly as you have been able to comprehend it thusly. Normally, I would send you back to remedial class, as a particular wooden piece of furniture is much more impressive than you."

Before you can ask, she holds the book in front of you and opens it up. "However, it appears that I will have to force you to endure this. Pity that I am surrounded by such unenlightened plebeians. Otherwise, I'd have found someone at least comparable to myself."

Ignoring her speech, you look at the letters of the book as you try to understand what they are. Odd squiggles trail everywhere up and down the page with no rhyme or reason. At the same time, you see more lines in front and behind the drawings as your eyes see into the page. Hundreds of lines of text extend behind, while hundreds more extend through your own mind.

At the same time, you see that in each plane of the text, the letters actually shift in on themselves. Each line actually is another line in the same state in time, even if it is in the same space as well. You see ink extending through at least four dimensions, before colors and flashes you can't even describe extend the message even further. It was something that no man could have comprehended, as they were not meant to know this.

At the same time, you feel no headache and no pain. You had seen worse when Margatroid had melded with you. This has to be some kind of effort to impress you, but at the same time you cannot understand what she hopes to accomplish with this.

[ ] Just shrug it off and make a bland remark. You've seen worse.
[ ] Look at her curiously and wait for her to explain.
[ ] Start complaining about a bright pain in your head. Be as sarcastic as possible.
[ ] Ask her if she spent a lot of time drawing this. Some of the positions the characters are in are not anatomically possible.
[x] That which bleeds the unknown word unto the sphere of speech winds and meanders through the catacombs of the mind, twisting and turning on millions and millions of lightning crossroads. Brilliantly, the motes of shape and number writhe upon the contoured psyche to create meaning, fair and true.

[X] Ask her if she spent a lot of time drawing this. Some of the positions the characters are in are not anatomically possible.

Go go gadget shot in the dark!
[X] Ask her if she spent a lot of time drawing this. Some of the positions the characters are in are not anatomically possible.
[x] That which bleeds the unknown word unto the sphere of speech winds and meanders through the catacombs of the mind, twisting and turning on millions and millions of lightning crossroads. Brilliantly, the motes of shape and number writhe upon the contoured psyche to create meaning, fair and true.
-[x] Wait, don't close it, I wan't to know if Ph'nglui likes to Mglw'nafh or Ffhtagn, that's my favorite part.

This is either gonna be horribly fun or horribly horrible. Also, your Tokiko is awesome.
[x] That which bleeds the unknown word unto the sphere of speech winds and meanders through the catacombs of the mind, twisting and turning on millions and millions of lightning crossroads. Brilliantly, the motes of shape and number writhe upon the contoured psyche to create meaning, fair and true.
-[x] The longer you stare upon the book, the further you feel your grasp on sanity slip. You suddenly gain a desire to chant "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," and you know not why.
[ ] "What the hell kinda gobblydegook is this anyway? How are you supposed to pronounce this: Al'whya al Cthulhu fhatagan? K'kili'far al is ar'arkas fal dep'wa?"

Let's go with the hilarious write-in.
[X] That which bleeds the unknown word unto the sphere of speech winds and meanders through the catacombs of the mind, twisting and turning on millions and millions of lightning crossroads. Brilliantly, the motes of shape and number writhe upon the contoured psyche to create meaning, fair and true.

Failing that,
[X] Ask her if she spent a lot of time drawing this. Some of the positions the characters are in are not anatomically possible.
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Awesome write-ins are awesome. Had a good joke for the soap opera one, but oh well.

[-o-] That which bleeds the unknown word unto the sphere of speech winds and meanders through the catacombs of the mind, twisting and turning on millions and millions of lightning crossroads. Brilliantly, the motes of shape and number writhe upon the contoured psyche to create meaning, fair and true.
-[-o-] Ask her if she spent a lot of time drawing this. Some of the positions the characters are in are not anatomically possible.


Even thought it does intrigue you, you can't help but to stare further into its depths the more you watch its pages. The unknown words twist and turn upon themselves, wandering aimlessly under your eyes as you stare upon them.

As tortured as your mind has been this past day, you find yourself almost at peace as you stare at the words. Each and every mote dances before you, somehow coming together to create meaning that you could have only imagined in your deepest of dreams. Even the light itself seems odd as you gaze upon it, telling you stories that you could have never imagined.

Silence envelops your body as it speaks to you, whispering stories that you never could have imagined in your previous life. Tales that no mortal man has let past his tongue. If you count as a mortal man any longer, though, that may soon change.

Before the image can be read consciously by your rapidly spinning mind, the book is away. The connections you have made in the infinitesimally short period of time are snapped away, and your mind jolts back into consciousness. "What just happened…"

Before you, instead of the chaotic beauty of arcane script, is a pair of flat red eyes, staring into your own. "Hrm. Odd. Did not think that I would have created such enthrallment. Expected pain, perhaps agony, loss of sanity. Not that." As she spoke, she pulls it away, starting to close it and tuck it under her arm.

As she does put it underneath her shoulder, you tilt your head to the side. "Tell me… Did you spend a lot of time drawing those pictures?"

Tokiko blinks her eyes as she returns your glance. "Not at all, inasmuch as I do not draw. Never saw much of a use for it. Tedious act, as one spends much time to produce a product with very little value."

"Oh, really?" You shoot a grin at her, enjoying the confusion that rises up in her eyes for once. "Well, then I must say that explains what you drew inside it. Some of the positions of the characters within are not anatomically possible."

"Nonsense! I would never do such a thing! Even if I were truly to truly butcher such an attempt, I would do my best to render it accurate." Immediately concerned, Tokiko forgets her earlier remark and begins flipping through the pages, searching for a drawing.

After a few minutes, she glances back up. "There are no drawings in there! Certainly none composed by myself. So, what insanity have you fallen to in order to spot lewd pictures of women, or men if that is your preference I do not judge, inside the pages of such a book?"

Laughing softly, you pluck the book from her grasp. "Because I was joking. I do not know what you were trying to accomplish by shoving the book in my face, but apparently it failed. All I saw were the images lining up to speak to me, gaining meaning faster than lightning as timed slowed itself down so that I could understand."

All hints of annoyance fell from the girl's face as you speak. "You… You are able to understand the alien depths within? The script of illusion that nobody but true…" She gulps before walking forward, grabbing hold of your shirt. "T-tell me… Tell me what was written…"

Nodding at her, you open the book in front of you and stare within. Without anyone to interrupt you, the images flow more easily as they pierce the catacombs of your mind. The points of light and color within the designs writhe against each other as they approach the singularity of understanding.

In an instant, you know. "There isn't much written here… Just the tales of someone ancient…" Gulping, you stare closer, taking in the designs. "This is an ancient Youkai, as far as I can tell. Born not as a human, but from among the flowers… An elemental that was as beautiful as any of the fairest."

Breathless, you continue to read what is on the page. "She transcribed her journeys through early life. Before she came into any power of her own, she found herself among mankind. As she was the most beautiful, she was readily used by others, as she did not know how to conduct herself among mankind…"

Even as you read aloud what you can, there is more depth to the words than can be spoken with your tongue. You can feel the emotions that were written by that girl, her hand trembling with rage and loathing as she penned this with ink sublime. You can smell the echoes of scents from back then, the vestigial words that were spat upon her, as soldiers with brass armor and short swords tossed around a vulnerable young girl.

At the same time, you cannot help but to feel a grim satisfaction at what is to come. Before you may continue though, you reach the end of the page, and you fade back into reality. "That… That is the gist of it. There is more that is there that I can speak. It might take me hours to convey the subtleties within the script."

The ibis merely stares at you in astonishment. "That… That is truly something marvelous. Stunning. Absolutely spiffing. To imagine that a rather unremarkable bird such as yourself would be able to understand the literature…"

"And what? You expected yourself to understand it?"

"Of course I did! Why else would I not be able to? I have spent years staring into the depths, looking at the little words squiggling around as if particularly lazy sperm that has grown tired of chasing an egg and desires to instead spend its time lazing in a pool! A pool of molasses and honey." She shakes her head to herself, tapping her finger against her chin. "No, that wouldn't do. A thick tar would be better, if one accompanies it with a marmalade spread."

Ignoring her random muttering, you try to reply to the more pertinent statements. "What I don't understand is why someone that considers themselves so sophisticated and elegant is at the same time so crude."

Tokiko shoots you an odd look, before snorting. "Whenever have I claimed to be elegant? No, if I were elegant, I would have held out for a more suitable partner than wooden chairs. Perhaps ones that do not splinter. Those are rather annoying to remove, after all."

Wincing at her reaction, your mouth speaks before your mind thinks. "Rather, why bother being so crude?"

Huffing, she just glares at you. "I am a bird, you marvelously wonderful imbecile, you. Just as I cannot particularly entertain the notion of the written word, I at the same time do not care about the trivialities as to which you cling to. Do not complain about the proclivity of myself to be honest in my desire to find a worthy mate. Failing that, I find one that is merely adequate, if only because the enthusiasm helps where the skill and size is lacking."

Not sure if she just insulted you or not, your ears begin to burn at the implications thereof. "Right. Well, I suppose that's good enough—"

"Honestly! I do not understand why I even bother with entertaining the notion in this form. If I felt the notion to have a cock inside of me, I would proceed to run down and find a rooster that might do the job!"

Another disturbing mental image flashes through your mind. This girl seems a bit too apt in provoking them, you must admit. "As far as I know, there's no henhouse here."

A small chirp of frustration passes her lips while she glances at you. "Which is what frustrates me the most! Damned peasant of a master…" Frowning, she glances back at you, her arms still crossing her chest. "Still, you can read…"

In a moment, you see something click behind her eyes. Reaching back, she smoothes back the feathers of her hair, preening for a moment as she reveals two small nubs on the top of her head. At the same time, her wings flare out as she fixes you with a wide smile.

Blinking, you watch as she comes closer. "Erm… I can read it, yes. I fail to see…"

"Oh, I was just wondering if I could talk you into reading for me. There are so many books I want to hear…" As she spoke, a clawed hand touches your chest. "And I can make it worth your while."

You resist the urge to shiver as she touches you, but you still step away as she does. "Listen, Tokiko. You're a… nice girl and all, but I've got bigger worries. Most specifically, the worry of what a certain Master might do if she found me cavorting with another bird instead of cleaning her room." Turning about, you ignore the look of disappointment that flashes across her face. "Besides, I thought you didn't want to leave your bookcase for a completely inadequate bird."

"Hardly completely inadequate. After all, as endowed as the bookcase might be, it cannot sing to me pretty words that come from a book…" You ignore the sadness in the girl's voice as you begin searching through the pile, ensuring that everything is properly separated. Once that is done, you move on to another pile and begin separating the eclectic assortments within it.

A few minutes pass in silence, and you almost forget that the bird is there. However, as you make headway through the next pile, you hear her voice speak behind you, low and serious. "You intend to try and take the Master out of the picture, don't you?"

If that wasn't obvious, you don't know what is. However, to ensure that there are not any misunderstandings, you instead answer her directly, hoping that she is not as mad as Hatate. "Somehow, someway. I intend to do so." You turn your head back to her as she stares at you, her headwing idly flapping to and fro. "You have something to say?"

She bites her lip for a second, before speaking in an oddly resonant voice. "If it is something that you are committed to doing, I will offer my assistance." As you raise an eyebrow, she continues. "That is, I will do so… For a price."

Staring at her, you slowly stand up until you're looking down at the girl. "What price would that be?"

The girl meets your eyes, the red depths not blinking as she answers. "Your first-born. I want it."

[ ] What.
[ ] No.
[ ] What the hell?
[ ] …Why would I want to give you that?
[ ] Seriously, what the fuck?
[ ] Well, no time like the prese—
[ ] Sure. What's the worse that could go wrong?
[X] What.
-[X] No.
--[X] What the hell?
---[X] Why would you even want something like that?
----[X] Seriously, what the fuck?
-----[ ] Oh, I see. This is your roundabout way of saying that you want my dick.
[x] Uhhh
[x] How about I finish up with this so that I can be sure I'll even have a first born, then I can crack open another book.
[x] Because agreeing to this sort of thing straight off the bat is a bit much.

Keep it civil, because an awesome Tokiko is awesome, but I'm not sure she'll make the best mother for a child.

Unless she wants to /eat/ the kid, or something. That's even weirder.

Also, yay Yuuka!
[X] First I must know what it is that she wants with it, and how she will be of help. ...Plus, as a bird, you are likely going to have plenty other of children all in one go. The first born is of little cocequence, if she can truely asist in freeing the most likely mother of them. Furthermore, there are far worse creatures to give your child to, all things considered. Tokiko may be a bit mad, but she seems to run on instict. In that case, she would likely make a fine mother.
[x] What.
-[x] What the hell?
--[x] Why would you even want something like that?
[x] How about I finish up with this so that I can be sure I'll even have a first born, then I can crack open another book.
[x] Because agreeing to this sort of thing straight off the bat is a bit much.

If we somehow end up agreeing to this, we really do have to keep our word. Every story in which one promises their firstborn to another, and then doesn't deliver, ends badly.

What about Rumplestiltskin? She squeaked out if it in that story. Not that I think we should take the same risk.
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Did my best to consolidate this vote. This seems to contain the essence of most of them.

[-p-] What.
-[-p-] What the hell?
--[-p-] Why would you even want something like that?
[-p-]How about I finish up with this so that I can be sure I'll even have a first born, then I can crack open another book.
[-p-] Because agreeing to this sort of thing straight off the bat is a bit too much.


"What." You don't even have any words for that statement. This damnably insane bird is staring you demand, demanding your first child in exchange for your help? Never before you have blushed and paled at the same time. "What the hell."

"It is just as I said. It is not too complicated." The bird stares at you, speaking as if she was discussing somewhat inclement weather. "I desire to have one of your children. Particularly your first-born."

You slowly shake your head as you stare at her. "Wait a second. Why in the bloody blazes would you even want something like that?"

The girl tilts her head to the side. "I think it should be obvious. You possess at least a rather sizable intellect within your mind. Perhaps even approaching mine, if I allow myself to be humble. Not to mention that there is some special knowledge that allows you to comprehend the book. Perhaps with a rather vigorous session of mating, that knowledge may be passed down to the next generation."

"Still. What the hell." You shake your head wildly. "I can't do that, Tokiko. You just walk up to me and ask me for such a thing out of nowhere."

"Oh, I see." The girl nods for a moment. "You have already had your firstborn? Perhaps when you were rather more attractive when you were still human, and were able to create a few clutches then?" She grins happily as she watches the horrified look on your face. "Rather shameful of you to be so open with your relationships, as I doubt that other women would have been understanding as my favorite chairs."

Resisting the urge to apply your palm directly to your forehead, you back away from the girl a bit more. "No, that is not the point, Tokiko. I have had no children whatsoever. I hardly know you, so to even ask about such a thing."

"Well, that can be solved easily." Reaching around for a strap on her dress, Tokiko starts to undo it. "Is there a better way than having the flesh know the flesh to understand another person?" Pausing in her disrobing, she snaps her fingers. "Tarts. One can understand another completely as long as they share their favorite flavor of tarts."

"If you say so. But I'm not about to have sex with you, Tokiko. No way, no how." You see disappointment on the girl's face, but she does desist in her determined disrobing posthaste. "Thank you. I would not have enjoyed fending off your… attentions." Pausing, you stare at her for a moment longer. "What reason would I have to give up such a thing?"

"First, and most important, you get to mate with a beautiful bird." Grinning widely, she waves at the room around her. "Do you know how many pieces of cabinetry that I've had to fend off as they tried to assail me with their love? Please; a girl has standards."

You do nothing more but blink in response as you comprehend that mental image. "…Right…"

Not noticing the sarcasm or the derision in your voice, she continues. "Secondly, I would assist you without betrayal or hesitation on your attempts to escape, through whichever manner you might procure."

Something from her earlier words crosses your mind as she speaks. "You did say that you know ways out of here…"

"I do. However, it matters little how you escape, as long as there is someone to pursue you to the edge of space." Pausing, she licks her lips. "However, I hear that there is a lovely place to get something to eat. Perhaps a frog, coated with volcanic ash and margarine…"

"Right…" Well, that doesn't really help your opinion of the girl. At least she doesn't seem to be worried about what she has to eat. "Is that all of the reasons that you have? Just that you would help me, for my first child?"

Tokiko is silent for a few seconds as she contemplates your question. That, or she is still imagining some other kind of delicacy that she may find at that supposed restaurant. Even as she is so blank, she suddenly turns and fixes you with a serious look. "There is another…"

"…Which is…?"

She bites her lip, looking away. "As long as you make the deal with I, you would not be capable of making said deal with another. It is your choice. Or rather, your choice to choose, or allow another to choose for you."

You move to meet her eyes again, looking for some hidden meaning within them. "You know something."

She grins back at you. "Too bad you don't know me by now, or you'd have figured it out. I know everything. Except the reasons as to why bacon is so popular."

"Right." Pausing, you turn away from her, glancing back at the mess. "No matter, though, as I need to finish as much of this as I can so I can ensure that I have one. After that, perhaps I can read a book for you while I decide."

Before you turn around completely, you feel a clawed hand grabbing your wrist. "I need to know now, stupid birdie. Not later." As you meet her eyes, you know that she knows something else, but she doesn't seem either willing or sane enough to tell. "I need your answer now. After all, we cannot hear the little bug as it scurries towards us, its mandibles twitching with glee, can we?"

[ ] …Agreed.
[ ] …No deal.
[ ] …Counteroffer.
[ ] …You were going to offer to have sex with me, and you don't even know my name?


Remember what this is. You can barter anything. And I mean that quite literally.
[ ] Voice box change: Wriggle
[ ] "Nor even see her when she stands before her pet, it seems."
[x] …Counteroffer with continuing to read these books to her regularly, when possible. Insinuate that such readings might be sparse in the future, should she decline.

Sorely tempted to use the struck out vote just to see what would happen, but since this is a CYOA and not a VN, we couldn't reload a save file after seeing how (in)effective it was. This story is also way too good to derail.
If you're going to counteroffer, it might be best to put what you expect her to offer in return, unless you are assuming the terms would be the same.
Maybe I'm too tired to be reading this story, but I feel she wants to get married. Also bird eugenics, but that's another matter entirely.

[x] Counteroffer
-[x] Consider the following, as your terms, the pact would need to account for several factors not controlled by you nor myself, including the production of viable offspring, either a firstborn, hatchling or flock, the quality of my capacity to understand the tomes being related to my genetic make up and the capacity of raising it to a situable state of maturity without interferance of "master" who could well end the venture at the first stages. Leaving at best with a long shot.
-[x] As such in the pursuit of the best interests of all concerning parts I propose that I would read the books that are solicited by yourself at the best of my capacity and be of assistance, while you compromise to providing me the information needed for my ventures and our possible escape from this burrow.
--[x] Also, the possibility of creating offspring will be left open for a time in wich the conditions would be less hostile for its healthy upbringing. Not that I'm adverse to the person itself, of course.

Welp, that got too long. Tokiko is too awesome to reject, this is so difficult
[x] Counteroffer
-[x] Consider the following, as your terms, the pact would need to account for several factors not controlled by you nor myself, including the production of viable offspring, either a firstborn, hatchling or flock, the quality of my capacity to understand the tomes being related to my genetic make up and the capacity of raising it to a situable state of maturity without interferance of "master" who could well end the venture at the first stages. Leaving at best with a long shot.
-[x] As such in the pursuit of the best interests of all concerning parts I propose that I would read the books that are solicited by yourself at the best of my capacity and be of assistance, while you compromise to providing me the information needed for my ventures and our possible escape from this burrow.
--[x] Also, the possibility of creating offspring will be left open for a time in wich the conditions would be less hostile for its healthy upbringing. Not that I'm adverse to the person itself, of course.

They say you should listen to your lawyer, and I sure do feel like this was made by one! I believe agreeing is in order, while I give a round of applause. Bravo.
Not really, I'm (will be) a doctor, but thanks.
Sage for off-topic.
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[-q- ]Counteroffer
-[-q-] Consider the following, as your terms, the pact would need to account for several factors not controlled by you nor myself, including the production of viable offspring, either a firstborn, hatchling or flock, the quality of my capacity to understand the tomes being related to my genetic make up and the capacity of raising it to a suitable state of maturity without interference of "master" who could well end the venture at the first stages. Leaving at best with a long shot.
-[-q-] As such in the pursuit of the best interests of all concerning parts I propose that I would read the books that are solicited by yourself at the best of my capacity and be of assistance, while you compromise to providing me the information needed for my ventures and our possible escape from this burrow.
--[-q-] Also, the possibility of creating offspring will be left open for a time in which the conditions would be less hostile for its healthy upbringing. Not that I'm adverse to the person itself, of course.


She does have a point. You have no idea what Wriggle is planning. There may be something that she could do that would make you wish that you had taken this offer. So you have to give this a good deal of thought, in order to ensure that you do not hamper your own chances of escaping by turning the girl down.

By the same token, you have no guarantee that the child, should you have one, would even survive for very long here in these burrows. Should you fail in your attempt, it is not unlikely that others whom assisted you might be punished.

"How about this, then." Turning back around, you look into those red eyes as you stare each other down. "We can compromise. I assist you by reading you what I can out of these books, to sate your lust for their contents. For that, you can assist me by providing information needed to assist us in escaping the burrow."

She raises one eyebrow at you, before cocking a crooked grin. "That still leaves a rather large if. What if you perish in your attempted escape from this abode that is here? You are aware that such an event would require removing Wriggle from the situation, at least in the short term."

"Indeed…" Sighing, you glance away. "However, what do you expect her to do if I rebel so openly? Would she not hunt down those that have assisted her?"

"There is not a large ground here for her to hunt down…" Pursing her lips, she reaches out and turns your head back to hers. "However, I do not believe that she need to look in many places. And I have no desire to become one of her personal play toys. She does not have what I seek in a desirable mate."


"No. A heart."

You blink a few times as you comprehend that statement. "Really now? I would not have thought that you cared for such a thing…"

Glaring at you, she presses one of her clawed fingers into your chest. "Do not judge me so eagerly, stupid birdie. My three lovers each have a heart quite so big, even if one of them does not have a lick of sense to back it up. However, at least they care."

Well, if she is happy with her delusions, you're not going to shatter those. "Noted. So, does that sound acceptable to you? I shall read to you whenever I have the opportunity, and you will assist me with your knowledge of the burrow, along with anything else?"

The girl stares at you, while biting her lip. "That does not answer my initial offer, birdie. You have ignored what it is that I requested in the first place…"

"That I have. But for good reason." Holding up a hand, you begin to count off the reasons. "One: You assume that my capacity to understand this one tome extends to understanding of them all. Even if you do assume that, you also assume that whatever knowledge I have within me will be passed down to the next generation."

Ticking off one finger, you continue. "Secondly, you also assume that if we were to produce offspring, that it would be singular. However, we do not know if our reproductive systems would be capable of that, or if we would instead have a flock instead of a singularly hatchling. Thirdly, there is the initial supposition that we would be able to produce viable offspring. That was one of the first things you pointed out to me as well."

"True, I did that." Sighing, she looks away from your eyes. "Such testing could easily be achieved, though. It might take only fifteen minutes if you allowed me to begin the examinations posthaste."

"Tokiko." Waiting for her to look back at her, you continue. "I will consider the possibility. However, we can discuss the technicalities at a later time. Particularly a period of time in which the conditions will be less hostile towards the upbringing of children."

The ibis' headwing flaps back and forth as she contemplates it all. "So you say. However, I hope you do not skirt the responsibility by considering and then dismissing my desires, before escaping on your own. Perhaps with that little sparrow up there with you?" Pinching her nose, she shakes her head. "I am not sure I am willing to agree with such a thing. After all, if I am to assist you, I will have to remain in this form, which requires me to worry about an inordinate number of details I prefer to ignore most of the time. Principally hygiene and body odor, although nail care is another one I could do without."

Not knowing why it is such a big deal, you just shake your head, ignoring the fact that you yourself have not bathed in quite a while either. "Well, how about this. After we escape, I swear that we will have a discussion on potential offspring of ours. However, we only will do such a thing once we have ensured that the conditions of its upbringing are healthy enough. Do you agree?"

She stares at you for a few more seconds. "Do I have a choice? That is the only way I am going to get what I desire." A crooked smile grows on her face as she stares up at you. "Perhaps you are cleverer than even I had supposed. Although your appearance is somewhat craven and slovenly, the mind behind that mask is much greater than I anticipated. I hadn't anticipated you to turn the terms around upon myself."

Taking the compliment for what it was worth, and the insult for what it wasn't, you merely shake your head as you wait for her answer. "…Well?"

Instead of answering, she stares off into the distance. "You really are determined to escape with us all, are you not? Is your hero complex so grand that you'd accept no substitute than complete victory over your foes, and the adoring arms of hens grasping you as you stand atop their mangled and somewhat vitrified corpse?"

"I'd like to not think that it's a complex." Watching her for a few moments more, you continue on. "I'm just doing the best that I can do. It wouldn't be right to leave any of you behind."

"A complex, indeed. A white knight, sure to do his best to defend those under his protection, only to fall under the dragon's claw and fiery breath when he overextends himself." Giggling all of a sudden, she grins at you. "I know what type of bird you are!"

"You do?" Quizzically, you tilt your head to the side at this odd turn in the discussion, you can't help but to ask, "What type would that be?"

"A turkey!" Giggling louder, she pats you on your shoulder. "A vicious creatures, attacking all that may threaten it and viciously defending those it claims as its own. I indeed think I shall call you Tom now. I'm sure that you'll like it."

"Actually, my name is—"

"Tom, enough of that." She shoots you a look before petting you on the cheek. "You are sending a girl swooning at your grand talk about defiance against the unknown. If I were younger, I might be swooning and blushing and trying to steal your undergarments to smell."

Considering what they have been through, it might be a good thing that she isn't. "…I thought that you said that you were a bird. Not a girl."

Again she giggles, this time a bit too loudly to be a normal, sane laughter. "I lied. I haven't the damnedest clue in all of the many hells as to what I am. That's why I like being a bird. So much simpler than being a bird and a girl at the same time. Not to mention that birds do not have to deal with clothing all of the time. It is quite a pain to materialize them on my body when I take this form."

"…It is?"

"Quite. Too bad you didn't take a look at first. I accidentally had my underwear on my head. Although, they do make a rather fetching hat."

Seeing that she seems determined enough or spastic enough to ignore your earlier point, you decide to get her back on track. "Tokiko, you still haven't answered me yet. Are you going to—"

Something warm and soft on your mouth cuts you off from speaking, and you merely stand there in shock. You had not even see the girl move, as one second she was rambling on with her insane laughter, and the next moment she is kissing you. However, it ends soon enough as she pulls away and winks at you. "I accept. Now come along, future-lover-to-be Tom! There is much to do before we can commence the sharing of information."

You stare dumbfounded at her as she grabs at your hand, tugging you to the next pile. "Chop-chop! These piles are not about to sort themselves, after all! Too bad that the Master hates elementals, as being a stack of books or a pile of crap that automatically sorts itself seems like their kind of shtick. Instead, we shall do it ourselves with blood and sweat and other, far nastier fluids that have technical designations that are certainly able to boggle your mind."

"…S-sure…" Blushing heavily, you follow after her and begin the work once again. A few minutes later, during which you make pretty good headway through the pile you had abandoned earlier, she finally speaks up.

"You are aware that if you are becoming far too exhausted, you can remove that shirt of yours. It is much cooler without it, and I am sure you will enjoy making that shirt smell not nearly as badly."

"And how much of it is because you want to see me with my shirt off?"

"That is merely one of several additional benefits for such an action."


The work is long and difficult, but not nearly as bad now that you have the ibis on your side. Although, such a term is subjective, as she spends half of the time making odd sexual allusions while the other half of the time is spent making random comparisons about items that are in no way similar.

Still, you do persevere. The job itself is not as hard as it could have been, given the additional strength you gained in your transformation. All in all, it is just tedious.

After what you assume is a few hours, the work begins to come to an end as you reach the last pile on the ground. Once all of its component pieces were separated, the jewels and books and junk were all placed together and set aside. The armor and weapons were put together as you do your best to not touch anything that screams danger at you.

Even as you finish that much, though, you turns your eyes upward. You see that there is much more that yet needs to be done above. You turn your eyes to racks and racks of shelves, along with many other piles that line the upper stories of the room. "Lovely… Should I try and just have all the piles separated, or should I stay down here?"

The ibis takes the moment to chirp in. "Do you even know how to fly? Or are those turkey wings of yours for show, Tom?" She grins at you as she spreads her own. "Don't tell me that you've been given wings and haven't even attempted flight. I might have to revise my initial projections downwards from earlier. After all, wouldn't one such as you be willing to take advantage of whatever may be at hand, especially if you intend to fight Wriggle mano a buggo?"

[ ] Might as well finish the current job. It'd at least let you try to fly.
[ ] There are still plenty of books down here that need to be shelved. Do that, then put the junk on the shelves.
[ ] …You could read to her, now that you're done. After all, she has been helping you all this time.


Congrats. You have an insane psychotic bird waiting for the moment she can carry your child. Although, I was waiting myself for someone to come up with something a bit simpler. Such as giving away your ability to read for her unconditional support. Not that such a thing doesn't have its own drawbacks.
[X] Might as well finish the current job. It'd at least let you try to fly, if nothing else...
Also, what ever happened to our food? Did we forget about it?

...Dammit. My fault there. I'll make mention in the next update, but as for now, Lucas is full.
[X] Might as well finish the current job. It'd at least let you try to fly.
Woah. I just started reading this fic, and I really like it. It reminds me of ASSM and The Game in a good way.

Allow me to get one rant out of my system though regarding >>26475: Come on anon, did ASSM teach you nothing? Don't agree to play with the creepy loli without knowing exactly what she means, particularly given the context hinting that she's the one responsible for transforming people into dolls. Christ. Thank goodness the bullet was dodged.


[x]Might as well finish the current job. It'd at least let you try to fly.
To the anonymous author: can I just say that I absolutely love your Tokiko? Compared to how she's usually depicted as quite timid, this is a hilarious change.


[x]Might as well finish the current job. It'd at least let you try to fly.
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[-r-] Might as well finish the current job. It'd at least let you try to fly.


"I suppose I should, shouldn't I?" Sighing, you glance back at your own wings. The dark feathers seem to be lazily flapping in the wind, minding their own business. "Still, I don't think I've ever consciously controlled them, at least for very long."

"Then you must. Surely you do not wish to go the way of the flying pig? By the by, that way was into my stomach. Absolutely delicious, I must say." Pausing, Tokiko flaps her own wings, taking to the air above you. You have to raise one hand to your face in order to protect it from the sudden gusts of wind. "So, consciously move your wings. You are a bird, even if your wooden hand is the much more attractive part of yourself."

Shaking your head at the slight, you continue to stare at your wings as you attempt to do as she says. "Consciously move? But I'm not even sure which muscles…"

"Then don't think. Feel, as if you wish to perform interpretive dance." Flying over to a nearby bookshelf, she sits down on top of it and stares at you. "Yes, an interpretive dance would be good. Pity that we do not have sufficient instrumentation for the full effect. Perhaps one could locate some timpani…"

"There was a washboard somewhere in the mess, if you want that." You shut out her words, as she goes on a rant about what constitutes an instrument and what defines music. "Whatever. Now, just need to… Wings are moved by what now?"

Considering how they are attached to your back, you randomly start tensing your muscles in an attempt to find if that does anything. After a few seconds of appearing constipated to the entire world, you feel something twitch. "Well, that was different…" You glance back up at Tokiko, seeing if you had garnered any reaction from her.

"…that is, assuming that music is even worth one's time. It is like drawing, a frivolous art that consumes…." Needless to say, you hadn't. Unsure whether to sigh once more or bust out laughing, you refrain from doing either as you keep on testing the muscles again.

The wings begin to slowly flap back and forth, the feathers not giving way to the still air. As they move, you feel something pushing you back, similar to how a strong gust of wind might make you light-footed for a fleeting second. "Is it that easy?"

You continue to test your wings as you stand there, staring at their folds as they flap. "I suppose this isn't too bad… I mean, if this works, I'll be able to fly." That's more than you could say for anything else. As creepy as your wooden hand is, and as unfeeling as it is in most cases, it is still just a hand. But wings… "Why haven't I even considered this prospect?"

Well, there is an easy answer to that question, and you don't even bother to vocalize your thoughts as you prepare to actually try and take to the air. "Alright… How do I do this… Wings back, and then flap hard?" Not knowing for sure, you relax the muscles, bringing your wings back, before slamming them foreword.

You feet slip the surly bonds of the Earth just for a moment as you are propelled up, and for a split second you marvel at the feeling. However, you notice that at the same time you are going backwards much more quickly than you are going up. Before you can react to try and stop yourself, you fly back into a nearby wall and bust your head on the stone.

Stars light up in front of your face as your vision blurs. Your hands go back to cradle your head. Something sticky begins to slip between the fingers of your clawed hand. "…Ouch…"

At least you hadn't stuffed yourself full earlier. That way, you're not tempted to hurl any more than the lurching in the stomach wants you to.

Before you are even cognizant enough to check and see if you've been injured severely, or if Tokiko is coming to assist you, a shadow falls over your vision. As your head lulls in your hands, you hear an amused voice chuckle. "Oh, what do we have here? What has my pet been up to…"

[ ] "Wargle…"
[ ] "…Snegle…"
[ ] "Ouchies…"
[ ] "…Fuck you…"
[ ] "Ow abou' somma help…"
[ ] "…I can see clearly now, the rain is gone…"
[ ] (insert your own. of course)


Compared favorably to Owen's and Fell's works? I'm not sure if I deserve such a thing, but thank you.

And you have no idea how much that vote surprised me.
[X] "Up is exactly where I'm trying to get to, actually. Failing presently, but not about to let that stop me. And yourself?"
[X] After muttering inanities about pain and how much that hurt, tell her that you were only trying to go up. You've failed this attempt, but you're not about to let that stop you.
[x] "…I can see clearly now, the pain is gone…"
[x] "I can see aaaalll the Wriggstacles in my waaaay"
[x] "Up is exactly where I'm trying to get to, actually. Failing presently, but not about to let that stop me."

This story reminded me of ASSM, too. Thought you were Owen writing under yet another monicker at first.
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[-s-] "Up is exactly where I'm trying to get to, actually. Failing presently, but not about to let that stop me."


You bite your tongue as you do your best to recover your senses. A blur feels your vision as it slowly swims back into focus, until you are left staring at the eerily grinning face of the monster of a girl that calls itself your master. "Do tell what you have been up to, pet. It seems like you've made the mess in here even larger than usual."

Blinking wearily, you stare up at her for a few seconds. At the sight of that smirk in front of your face, you can hold back your tongue no longer. "Up is exactly where I'm trying to get to, actually."

Wriggle laughs at you for a few moments as she stares at the blood leaking down the back of your head. "It doesn't look like you've had too much success in that regard, pet. Are you sure that you have the brainpower to be cut out for such a thing?"

Rolling your eyes, you wince at the sudden spike of pain as you do as much. "Perhaps I am failing presently. I am not about to let that stop me…" At that, you remove your hands from your head and place them on the ground, doing your best to get back to your feet. Slowly you make your way back up, using the back of the wall to brace yourself.

"Really now? I'm afraid you don't even know how to stand at the moment…" The girl's antennae wiggle back and forth as she continues to laugh under her breath. "Such a worthless bird, after all. Perhaps I should pluck those wings from you, and save you the hassle."

Tired of your verbal spar, you let out one last pithy comment as you finally find yourself flat on your feet. "Bite me." Woozily, you try to take a step around her, only to have an intense feeling of vertigo come over you. Immediately, you have to grab onto the nearest object to stay upright.

Said nearest object only seems to be amused at your plight. "Well now, laying hands upon your master? That will have to be punished… That is, on top of your apparent lack of direction. I ordered you to clean up the room, not to further spread my treasures in every direction."

Unable to respond, you merely shuffle away and grab onto a nearby bookshelf once she tosses you off. You stare back at her as your conscious mind attempts to reboot, but the pain proves too strong for your dull mind to pierce it.

"He was not doing such a thing." However, above you, a familiar voice pounded against your ears, making you wince. "I was assisting him, as it is my job as well to perform, is it not? Such a menial task for someone of my caliber. Instead, if you wished to take full advantage of what I could do, you would have me digesting and consolidating your sum of knowledge."

The smile on the monster's face immediately vanishes as she glances up at the ibis. "You know that I am not going to do that, you stupid bird. Whatever would I accomplish by doing that? I am plenty strong enough, so I need none of that knowledge to be known by my pets. I prefer you dumb and weak, just as I like them."

"Oh, I have noticed. Pity that you no longer have an imagination of any note. If you did, you might appreciate the possibilities that I am offering. They approach a number that is somewhat near infinity divided by the largest finite number this side of two that you can think of."

Somewhere in the depths of your mind, you feel astonishment at how Tokiko is speaking out against the monster, considering how she allowed Wriggle to manhandle her last time. Any curiosity is stalled by Wriggle's disappearance from in front of you. However, you hear three suspicious cracks, followed by an oddly soft cry of pain. "Impertinent bird. I had almost forgotten the pleasure it was to silence you."

Silent whimpers fill the room as Wriggle appears in front of you again. "Come along, then. As we have lost a number, I must assign you to your other job. If that damned fool is finally conscious, perhaps I'll have to make sure that your new job is permanent… That also means I will have to find a suitable dinner for the next week."

Tugging on your hand, Wriggle yanks you to the entrance of the room. Your vision has improved slightly, allowing you to look back and see Tokiko curled up on the top of the bookcase as she slowly morphs back into the form of an ibis.

[ ] Shake Wriggle off. Go back to make sure she's ok.
[ ] Let it go. There's nothing you can do… yet.



Really? Wow, I had never imagined that I'd be mistaken for Owen. Just to be clear, I'm not. Just an author from ff.net trying to see if I can do as well as some of the greats on this site.

Fully expecting to lose half of the readers now, but I feel best to say.
[X] Let it go. There's nothing you can do… yet.
Ugh. I dunno which to go for. On one hand, she might need Lucas' help. On the other... Wriggle would probably kill both of them. Or at least seriously maim the both of them.

This is a time for thinking.
[X] Let it go. There's nothing you can do… yet.

Not sure why you'd expect to lose readers at this point. So far the story seems good, plus I haven't noticed too many grammatical error that weren't intentional for the plot.

It's just because I know the reputation of where I hail from. That's the reason it's taken me so long to start a CYOA, as I had plans back in May to do so. Although, I suppose now I have some for three after this story.

Still, sage for off-topic. Gonna have next update soon.
[-t-] Let it go. There's nothing you can do… yet.


As much as you want to go back and help her, you can't do anything at all. Not only is your head still killing you; Wriggle is forcing you out of the room. If you decide to go and help her, you have no definite idea as to what Wriggle will do to you. However, considering her injuries along with Mystia's… Your wings tremble as fear starts to swell within your body.

Mentally praying that she is alright, you leave the insane and injured ibis behind as you are dragged through the hallways of the burrow. You barely notice the flickering lights of the braziers lining the halls as you are forced deeper and deeper into the tunnels, back in a direction that you vaguely remember coming from once.

Flinging the door open, your head winces as Wriggle pulls you through into quite the familiar sight. A brightly lit room full of cabinetry surrounds you, with Wriggle pulling you through towards the door opposite of you. You barely take a moment to realize that the light is not nearly as harmful to your eyes as it was the first time you had entered into this room before being pulled through the only exit that you can see.

Once again, you find yourself inside an oddly glowing room, with what appears to be a bed of logs and dozens of blankets in front of you. Your feet give way to the mossy floor below you as you are spun around, Wriggle looking you over with a knowing eye. "Stupid bird… I bet you don't even realize where we are right now, do you?"

Blearily looking around at the cacophony of color as various fabrics swirl around you, you take a gulp. "I think… They're… Your chambers…?"

Wriggle blinks for a second before grinning widely. "Perhaps I was wrong… Even if you are an idiot of a bird, your head must be hard enough to be able to resist that much… Now, strip. I'm not having my clothes on your back be mussed any more than they have to be."

Blinking idly at her, realization starts to dawn in your head at what she may be planning here. "Why would I need to do that? I've probably already bled all over this thing…"

Wriggle's brow knitted as she stares at you. "Are you disobeying me, pet? After all that I had to sacrifice to have you fixed. Too bad that you do not seem to be any different than before. Pity. We shall see what that new music box of yours can do soon enough." As she spoke, her eyes began to become darker and darker as she stares you down. "However, I am not in the mood for this. I require a new bed warmer, and since you cost me my old one…"

Shaking your head, you slowly start to back away, acting more on instinct than anything else. "Now, listen here. I didn't want a new one. You were the one who insisted on me getting it…"

"And is it my fault that it was broken in the first place?" You hardly get the chance to correct to her as she huff, walking forward to grab your shirt. "It wasn't. Furthermore, you left your Master all alone last night. Do you know how I felt, knowing that one of my precious pets was out cavorting around with such a filthy creature? No you do not!"

Considering that she seems to switch emotions at the drop of a hat, you don't think that you can dispute that sentiment. "That doesn't give you the right—"

A slap to the head sends you reeling, falling on the floor at the feet of the girl. "I have every right when it comes to you, stupid bird! You are my pet. Just as much as I am here to cherish you, I am here to also punish you. You've misbehaved, you've gone out of your way to try and be friendly with the other pets, and you've gone and turned yourself into some kind of abomination."

Grabbing your jaw, she turns it towards her face with a rough jerk, sending even more spasms through your mind. "So, follow the orders of your Master, bird. Or I will show you how I treat those who continuously disobey me."

[ ] Do as she says.
[ ] Don't do as she says.
So on the one hand, we get raped my Wriggle.

On the other hand, she mauls us.

Damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Holding off on voting right now because of this. And sage for no vote.
[X] Do as she says, reluctantly. There are worse things that could happen if you resist. For example, you may be too damaged to escape for a long while if you resist.
Anyone who would drop your story solely because of that is a reader you don't want anyway. Honestly, the number of people here who can't believe that being on ff.net intrinsically makes a person a bad author as opposed to the fact that it just happens to attract many bad authors which mask few decent/good ones is boggling.

What do you write there again?

[x] Do as she says, reluctantly. There are worse things that could happen if you resist. For example, you may be too damaged to escape for a long while if you resist.

This. Bide your time and pick your battles wisely. There isn't much to be gained from resisting here, and we've lost the "newbie" grace period.
[x] Do as she says... for now.

Wriggle must have some (more) serious god complex if she thinks sleeping right there with something that (surely) hates her is a good idea. It would be such a shame if she never wakes up.
So far we have a detachable hand, we are too incompetent to fly, we can mimic any voice we know, know several anti-youkai weapons and their locations, can read in Eldritch and might or might not paradox ourselves to oblivion if we do magic... damm we left the knife in the libray.
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[-u-] Do as she says, reluctantly. There are worse things that could happen if you resist. For example, you may be too damaged to escape for a long while if you resist.


You have no choice but to accept her demands. As much as you could resist, what would it earn at this point? You've lost the newness that would have given you a reprieve the other day. Even if Wriggle does say that she appreciates a bit of resistance from time to time, you know that she is not in a mood to play around any longer.

It is with a great deal of hesitation that you nod to her and raise a hand up to your shirt. Placing your wooden hand on the buttons, you slowly begin to undo them, glaring hatefully at her the entire time.

Wriggle, for her part, takes it in stride, merely grinning and standing back up as she backs away from you. "Oh, do take your time, after all. One would like to enjoy the show, or at least as much of one that you can give me in the dilapidated state that you're in right now.

Biting your lip to prevent any curses from leaving your mouth, you hurry up, not wanting her to enjoy any of this at all. Carefully, you undo the last of the buttons and toss the shirt away, wincing at the amount of blood that was on the collar.

Frowning noticeably, Wriggle picks it up and stares at the blood along with the two holes you tore when you didn't bother to account for your wings. "Well, it appears that this shirt was going to be ruined anyways, before you ripped it to pieces. Be very glad for that, pet."

Gulping, you stare back up at her while you remove your shoes and socks. As you do, you take a good look at your feet for the first time. They do not appear to have changed too much. However, there are a few hints of scales along the very top of your foot, and the heel seems to be larger than you remember.

Remembering vaguely that you should not take too long to gawk, you remove your trousers, leaving you only in a pair of bloomers. As you spot them, you can't help but blush as you recognize parts where what had unmistakably been lace had been shorn off. Seems like when you soiled yourself earlier, you did more damage to your clothing than you could have ever imagined.

With a voice that makes you shiver just hearing it, Wriggle whispers, "Oh, don't even bother with that… I'll take care of that soon enough. Now, get up, and get down on the bed, pet. I have some pleasure to take before we get to the main act."

The chitter in her voice make the monster sound distinctly less human. At the same time, she stares at the back of your head as you slowly push yourself to your feet, still hurting too badly to be quick in any of your movements.

As you amble slowly towards the stack of blankets that counted as a bed, Wriggle grows impatient and shoves you face first into them. The pile that you land on was rather firmer than you expected, not quite as hard as a stack of rugs might have been, but closer than you had imagined. It was certainly firm enough to send your head into another shock of blinding pain, and you can barely tell as a small weight falls on top of your back.

However, small spurs prick in your mind as hands begin to play with your scalp, pushing feathers aside to find the wound. "Oh, how marvelous this is… If you were human, you would have been dead already. One way that I have already saved you, pet." Her chittering voice bristles with odd laughter as she continues to trace the wound. "Still too many feathers though. They always ruin the feast… Good thing there is a way to fix that."

Without hesitating in the slightest, she reaches in with both of her hands and yanks. You yell loudly at her actions as the pain reaches newer heights from the plucking of your head. "Dammit… What the hell was that for…"

"That was so that a reprehensible little bird like yourself can give me a lovely tasty treat." The laughter grows louder as you feel her breath on your neck, her hands pushing down on each of your arms. As much as you struggle, you come to realize that you are not strong enough to budge her. It does not stop you in the slightest from attempting to escape the clutches of Wriggle, but again it's still too much.

Before you can continue, you feel a mouth on your plucked scalp. After a few moments, a wet and slimy tongue falls out of it and begins to lick around the edges of the wound, pulling the drying blood off of your skin with every pass.

Shivering in disgust, you can do nothing more than lie there as that monster continues to consume your blood, pulling some of your skin off along with her rough tongue. "Interesting taste that you have. It is rather more metallic than most blood… Perhaps I shall have all my pets consume foods as you do before I consume them…" After a few moments, you feel the grin on the back of your neck. "Or perhaps not. This is a special occasion, is it not?"

Softly laughing, you continue to stay tense, waiting for her to do something else. While Wriggle feeds, though, you can feel something changing on top of you. The weight pressing down on your body is getting heavier and heavier, and you feel two long, hard, and hairy limbs wrapping around your midsection. At the same time, the hands holding your arms down begin to grow just as hard, the soft fingers becoming stiff as what seems to be hairs sprout from them.

Worse of all, as Wriggle approaches the wound on the back of your head once more, you feel two hard things squeezing gently against your head. Beginning to panic, as you are having a very good feeling of what is going to happen, you try to break out with one last surge of energy.

However, it is nowhere near enough to budge the girl. Laughing heavily, you feel that tongue rise back towards the wound and push the skin apart. Stroking your spine, you feel her begin to talk to you.

"Just go ahead and relax… Let the illusion carry you away, pet. You taste so good… And now, you will service your master as you should…" Her voice is even more as an insects would be now, completely unlike what it was before. At least you could have called her a girl then, at least by some regards. But now… Now the girl was gone.

Instead there was this thing on your back. You gasp in shock as you feel something begin to spread from the incision, moving through your entire body. "Just give in to the magic. After all, you've never had to attempt to satisfy a majestic firefly before, have you?"

Jerking as hard as you can, you are still unable to remove the monster from inside of you. Whatever is flowing through you is beginning to reach your brain, causing the tortured mind to become even cloudier. "W-what are you doing…?"

"Stupid birds can't keep up. I need you able to last for hours on end. Just let the illusion take you, and maybe we can see if you'll be able to satisfy your master…" You feel something deep within the dark recesses of your mind, demanding that you turn around and face the girl. For as much as part of you wishes to claw her to pieces, there is a growing voice that tells you to just do as she says, and it will all be over.

"I… I…"

"Yes, my little pet. Tell me how it makes you feel…"

[ ] It makes me want to accept.
[ ] It makes me want to make you happy.
[ ] It makes me want to kill you.
[ ] It makes me want to cut you to pieces.
[ ] It makes me want to S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀!



All Touhou stuff nowadays. Used to do some stuff with HP and ME, but I eventually stopped with the former and the third game killed the latter for me.

If anyone wants to know it, I'll go ahead and stop being anonymous. Just say yea or nay if you want me to share or not.
[X] It makes me want to S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀!
[x] It makes me want to shout.
[X] "It makes me feel alone."
-[X] Indeed, being with utterly foreign thing makes you feel more alone than simply being alone does. The relative comparison only serves to drive home how utterly alien the being before you is, to emphasize the differences between you and her no, it. You truly realize just how much you cannot comprehend when confronted with this, Wriggle's true (or is it?) face.
--[X] Except, of course, that you are you. As I am I. Thank you for reminding me, Wriggle.

Only the first line was intended as anything more than internal monologue, by the way.
She's trying to tap at our /brain?/
Oh that poor creature.
I've got no idea what this will do, or if it will catch on. Isn't half-awake voting fun?
Well, we'd best do a thing.

[x] It makes me want to S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀!
--[x] In the beginning was there the first voice that was called Voice and it was this that first declared the first 'I.' By word did it give the world order, and by order did others, 'Ego,' 'Shadow,' 'Sun,' and all things in creation find their names. In all voices does Voice speak, in all words does Voice order.
----[x] That which flashes between the ears and roars between the lips speaks the myriad million calculations by which there Is Order and by which there Is the I and the Other. Spoken is the word of Voice, arising from tesseract lightning and complex algorithms that determine here, there, everywhere, nowhere, and I at the origin.
------[x] And caught within the electric maelstrom and captured within the thought typhoon is a story and a twice-removed memory of a Beauty of Nature and all of Its Sleeping Terror.
-------[x]Roar towards the Full Moon, Sleeping Terror, Dreaming Terror
[x] "It makes me feel alone."
-[x] Indeed, being with utterly foreign thing makes you feel more alone than simply being alone does. The relative comparison only serves to drive home how utterly alien the being before you is, to emphasize the differences between you and her no, it. You truly realize just how much you cannot comprehend when confronted with this, Wriggle's true (or is it?) face.
--[x] Except, of course, that you are you. As I am I. Thank you for reminding me, Wriggle.

As much as I'd prefer to keep using our voice box to its fullest extent, Margatroid was fairly adamant that Wriggle would find our voice hideous and become thoroughly pissed off, a situation best avoided when she's prodding around in our head.

Plus the effect of the S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀! vote would be to call out for the dolls, which puts them in danger from Alice and doesn't really help us that much.
I'd normally agree, but we seem to be in a situation where we can use our bizarre ego-power as an advantage. By poking around our head, she moves into our playing field. It might be remiss to let this opportunity pass us by. At least we might be able to do some residual memetic-viral implantation or god knows what. The yell is mostly for flavor.
[X] It makes me want to S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀!

This probably won't end well.
File 135482999880.jpg - (301.24KB, 708x1000, temper temper.jpg) [iqdb]
[ ] It makes me want to S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀!


As your mind slowly blanks, completely overwhelmed by the fell creature's actions, you begin to realize that there is something that you can hear. There is another sound over the slovenly slurping on your neck and the whimpers of pain coming from your mouth.

There is that clinking and whirring of gears in your throat, rapidly becoming familiar to your mind. So easy to cast aside, it is but one reminder of what you have had done to you. And even as the rest of your mind continues to face, retreating into the soft satisfaction of her magic, it continues to whine as the metal rubs against metal.

However, that is all you have left to use. There is no way you can match her, nor is there any way that you can hope to even cause a little bit of damage to her. Instead, you will have to depend on the gifts you have been given. Gritting your teeth, you slowly breathe out your answer. "It… It makes me want to S̶͟͜͡H̡҉́͝͝Ơ͘͢͜Ư͏̵́T̶̨̡̨̀!"

A cry of pain meets your eyes as the monster retreats just slightly, withdrawing from your mind. Still, the fogginess does not recede nearly as quickly, making it so that you have to force your mouth to keep moving. Whatever may fall out of your mouth is barely within your control. "Dám̷̀n҉͘ȩ͘͠d͘̕ ̴m͡ǫ̧̛n̷̨͠s̡̧ţ͜e҉r…͟ ̶̨́ ̕͡Fu͡ć̨kę̷r͘͘ ̕l͢įk̛͞͝ę͟͞ ̧ỳ̡ơ͢u ̵̸s̸͞͞h̀o͏́u̸̷͟l͘d̕͏ ̛j͞͠us̶͟͠ţ ͘͏r͡ólĺ ͡o̧͡ve͘͟r̀ ͘ą̴͡n͢d̨ ͏di̧͞͝e…"

Again, the creature roars, the chittering mandibles clicking audibly against each other as she retreats. The metallic tone of your voice is even more apparent than it was before, scraping against each other like iron upon iron instead of the brass from earlier. Feeling the pressure of the girl remove herself from your back, you roll yourself over slowly, wanting to get a good glimpse of what exactly had been assaulting you.

You wish you hadn't.

Recoiling at the sight of the nasty hybrid, half insect and half human, your hands automatically try and push yourself away. Seeing as she seems to be recovering just slightly from your words, you shout again. "Ǵ͟et͠͠ ̵a̵w̶̨̛áy̕͏̵!̴̧ ̨̕ ̴͜U͜͞g̨͡ĺ̨y b̧̛u͘g̷,͞ ̨̕g̀͜͡e͘t҉̛ ͜ą̷͜w͘a̢y̢, ̴̧͢o̵̷r̵͜ ̵͢I'̢͢l̡҉l̨ s̀t͏̷͝o͟͠mp̷ ҉̸͜y͏ou҉͟͢,̸͟ ̨͡͡f͝u̶c̷͠k͢͜iǹ͜ǵ̡ ̡͏b́ug̀͜…̢͟"

The words, as cathartic as they may have been, elicited an extremely harsh response. Her face set in a scowl; Wriggle fixes you with a glare as she marches forward, her feet barely making a sound in the dark of the room. "Damn bird… Shut up. Not ugly… Beautiful…"

"T̴͞r͏̷ue̴͡.͠ ͠ No̡͝t͡ ̛̕u̡̧g͢l̸͡y͜͡͝… fuc͡ki̶n͏̵̛g̸͡ ̵͞ugl͘ỳ̧ ͏i̴̛s̢͟ ̶w̛ḩ͘à̡t̸ ̵y͟ou̵͡ ar̛e̸…" Even though you would have realized that saying such a thing is an extremely bad idea when you are in a normal mood, you are hardly in the state to make such judgment calls. It did feel good to call her that, though.

Raging, the monster clamps two of her hands over what you assume would be her ears in the horrible hybrid form and climbs on the bed. "Shut up. Shut up shut up!"

"Ņ̶͜o͡t͏͢ ̴g҉͏ǫnn̨a.̨͞" Again, you probably would have done as much if you were completely cognizant, but you couldn't handle such complex thinking.

"Yes you are." Grabbing at your head with two of her other hands, Wriggle snarls viciously, sending spittle flying all over you. "Gonna make you shut up. Maybe for good." At that, you feel your body lift out of the air and go flying against the wall. The tapestries that line the room hardly prevent you from hitting the rock beneath it, and your brain is jarred for the second time in so many hours, it seems.

This time, though, you are unable to hold onto consciousness for long. The cold black of unconsciousness wraps around your form, carrying you off into the realm where you will not have to worry. A realm where you can finally rest.


Flickering flames tease your vision as you finally return to the waking world, Your eyelids peek open, and you find your self staring at an enormous candle a few dozen feet away. Even so, you have barely the mind to register as your eyes flicker over around you, as you slowly try to find where you are, now.

There is nothing familiar about this sight. Aside from the candle, and the cold rock walls behind it, you see nothing but brown fabric of various shades that surround you. The cloth is rough, and not meant for one to rest upon, yet it is still far more comfortable than the bed you were laying on earlier.

Something triggers in your mind and you begin to glance around, searching for any sign of the insect. There is no evidence that she is in the room, but you warily watch in the wake of the candle's light, looking for even the slightest appearance of antennae or green hair.

Finding none, you let out a soft twitter of relief, and you finally decide to look around at what you are sitting on. As you look around, you feel the ground below you shift, along with a soft murmur from above you.

Turning your head up, you nearly squawk out loud. What looks to be yards away from you is the giant head of Mystia as she softly snoozes against the wall.

[ ] Cheep? (What is going on here?)
[ ] Cher cheep. (Oh, Mystia… good to see you.)
[ ] Te-tweet? (I'm safe?)
[ ] Chin-chin. (Where's Tokiko?)


Remember, Margatroid said that you have to sing to call them. I would hardly call shouting the same.

It's not quite the same situation… So that would not have worked.
[X] Ohh good, it's Mystia... I wonder if that was just a bad dream? Is Tokiko alright? (Cheep cheep cher tweet tweet chin-chin)
Oopsies, I reversed the thing being said and what is actually said...
[X] Cher cheep. (Oh, Mystia… good to see you.)

Bird grammar is awfully difficult at times.
[X] Cher cheep. (Oh, Mystia… good to see you.)

Well now... how very interesting.
[X] Cher cheep. (Oh, Mystia… good to see you.)
---[x] Poo-Tee-Weet (I feel like a warzone)

As if I'd pass up an opportunity to vote Poo-tee-weet
File 135483997490.jpg - (161.00KB, 500x484, you could go for a worm right now.jpg) [iqdb]
[-w-] Cher cheep. (Oh, Mystia… good to see you.)


Blinking a few seconds, you feel like you want to smile at the sight. However, for some strange reason, your lips won't move. However, you still can hardly keep the happiness from your voice as you stare at her. "Cher cheep!"

Freezing, you wonder why you did that. Why would you sound like a bird chirping? Looking down, you gulp as you spot red feathers on your chest. "Wrak?"

Spreading your arms out, you try to reach down and grab at the feathers on the chest to see if they are real. However, as you do as much, you notice that you no longer have hands. Instead, two wide wings spread out from your body and reach around, wrapping about your chest.

Staring at the mottled feathers in shock, you begin to turn your head in each and every way to see what else has changed. Nothing remains as you were before. Every single part of you is as a bird's would be. The spindly chicken legs, the feathers which have a most odd sensation as they attach to your buttocks, and even what you think is a beak upon your mouth.

The only thing that ruins the image is your left wing. Taking another look, you notice that a large part of your left wing is not actually feathered. Instead, it is a wooden mechanism that flows just as well as your right wing. It still seems as alien as it did when it was your hand, but at the same time it seems to confirm for you that this hand is indeed part of you now, however much you may hate it. "Kree…"

However, your many cries and following self-examination seem to have stirred the sparrow from her slumber. Her eyes slowly blink open, and she turns her head down to face you as you stand in her lap. "…I didn't expect you to be awake so soon. Wriggle didn't go easy on you, Lucas."

At the sound of the monster's name, your feathers bristle. "Killykilly…"

"I know you hate her, Lucas. But you're lucky that you got out of there alive. Be glad that she doesn't seem to want to break you so quickly…" As she spoke, you see a large hand rise up from behind one of her legs. You back away from the large talons as they approach you, causing her to frown just slightly. "You don't have to worry, Lucas… I'm not going to hurt you."

Glancing back into those eyes of hers, you hesitate for only a second before nodding. "Ter-tweet…" Still, you did not move as the warm hand moved down and wraps itself around you, causing you to shiver at how constrained you feel.

You saw something shiny fall from her eyes, before her other hand rises up to wipe it away. "You're safe now… But I don't know for how long. The other weird bird brought you to me, so that I could watch over you."


Mystia nods at your words. "Yes, Tokiko. I don't know where she found you… She just appeared from nowhere, and gave you to me. Said that you would react better when you were not worried about chairs… copulating, I think?" Mystia shrugs off the mental image, before a short chuckle falls out of her mouth. "Such a strange girl."

You only nod to her, wondering what else you can do. Right now, you don't know anything about what happened earlier, especially after you lost consciousness. At least your head seems to have healed since then, although you do not know how long it took to do that.

Still, Mystia has been watching over you this whole time. Wouldn't that risk her being punished as well? You don't know exactly how you could thank her in this form, but you can try your best.

[ ] Nuzzle her hand. Best thing to do.
[ ] Nip her finger. You think you've heard of birds doing this.
[ ] Try and see if you can sing? That music box should be able to do something right.
[ ] Just sit here and stare at her until she keeps talking.


Thought you might appreciate at least a pic of what type of bird Lucas is.
[X] Nuzzle her hand. Best thing to do.
[X] Nuzzle her hand, and attempt to test out your music box. Maybe you could sing to her?

Just two things at once. I'm curious as to how badly the write-in would have turned out.
"It makes me feel alone" or the extension on "It makes me want to shout"?
[X] Nuzzle her hand. Best thing to do.
[x] Focus on who you were before the transformation. That's how you focused the music box to replicate your voice, so you should be able to do something similar again.
File 13548506373.jpg - (317.23KB, 1009x1009, not the best but good enough.jpg) [iqdb]
[-x-] Nuzzle her hand. Best thing to do.


Well, there's not much that you can do, but what little you can, you do. Reaching forward with your feathered head, you rub against the enormous hand that surrounds you.

The sparrow's smile grows a little bit wider as you do. "You're welcome, Lucas. But it wasn't like I could turn you down. Besides, you did not know what she was planning to do." Sighing, she shakes her head. "That wasn't the right way to word it, but you know what I mean, right?"

You nod at her again, before pulling your head back. "Tew…"

"Thank you." Once more she sighs, before leaning against the wall. It won't be long now until we have to be up and about. The period of rest that I am given is nearly over, and I have to go back to the kitchens again…" As you tilted your head to the side, she continued to explain. "You were out for most of the night, or at least what counts as one around here."

Before you can answer, you hear the door creak open. Freezing in place, you don't look as a shadow falls across the small light that is projected from the candle. Above you, Mystia herself also freezes, but relaxes almost seconds afterwards. "You are back already?"

"Indubitably. Did you expect some sort of paper crane instead? Such creations are always a bother to automate." The tone of the voice relieves the building fear that was threatening to consume you. Turning your head, you see the familiar three wings of Tokiko flapping in the shadows. "Oh? He is awake already? Such tenacity is quite uncommon for a fellow, even if he is Tom."

"I told you that his name is Lucas, not Tom!" Mystia's eyes narrow as she looks at the girl standing above you. "Just because you have your own theories as to what he is."

Tokiko just rolls her eyes as she returns the banter. "Now, does it matter what I call him? As long as he is able to act to a satisfying degree, I care not how I refer to him as. Although, there really was no way around the events of last night." Crossing her arms, she looks down at Mystia. "Although, you should be quick. She will return from her work soon, and you are aware of what that means."

Now turning to face the ibis, you cock your head to the other side. "Ca-cew?"

"Indeed, that is quite an unsatisfactory arrangement of the floor tiles. Truly, the creator of this section of the burrows had no taste, as so many sections are—" Blinking, she looks back down at you. "Oh, sorry. I forgot to translate from my native language. Ibis is a very nuanced tongue, after all." Shaking her head, she wipes her brow before continuing. "Wriggle decided to pay a visit to the elementals while you were knocked out. That's the only reason I allowed you to remain with the sparrow for now."

Not wanting to risk any more translation errors, you turn back towards Mystia, whom answers your unspoken question. "I don't know how she found you. She came in and woke me up, saying that I had to take care of you while you recovered." Shivering, she glances down. "She broke your wings in so many places… I'm amazed that you recovered so quickly."

"Still, it doesn't matter. You need to get up, and at least have the appearance of obeying her. Even if we all know that you merely wish to stab her with a rather blunt instrument. One that has been coated in filthy substances, like egg yolk."

While you yourself did not seem to understand where Tokiko was going with this, Mystia herself seems to. "It is that time of week, is it not? Okuu's not going to be happy to have her stash of eggs raided again…"

"Give her something shiny, and the imbecile will never notice." Frowning noticeably, Tokiko crosses her arms, the claws clacking against each other. "Who knows how much of an idiot she was to consume the seeds first thing. Who knows how much intelligence she lost after that, but she probably didn't have enough spit to fill a whiskey barrel beforehand!"

Ignoring her ranting, Mystia begins to stand up, cupping you in both of your hands as she rises to her feet. Nestled against her chest, you look out at Tokiko as you feel her voice rumble, so close are you. "Maybe, but we shall see, shan't we? I can go ahead and take care of that."

Tokiko idly nodded, before holding her hand out. "Good, but let me take him. His job is to assist me in cleaning up the depository, and would it not look awkward if he was not there, but instead assisting in a job that was not given to him?"

As you watch, you feel the hands about you tighten just a little, gripping you possessively. "I'm sure it won't be trouble… He can't do anything until he changes back, so even she isn't irrational enough to punish him for that…" Even though her words were confident, you could feel the slightest tremor of worry in her voice.

[ ] Go with Mystia. It should be safe.
[ ] Go with Tokiko. She's the smart one, right?
[ ] Go with Tokiko. She has a point, as crazy as it sounds to agree with her.
[X] Ask how you would go about changing between forms, and attempt it now, if possible.
-[X] If successful, accompany Tokiko and help her with sorting.
-[X] If unsuccessful, accompany Mystia. She could do with some company.

I was thinking primarily of the former, but thinking about it, I realize the latter might have been interesting too.

The former would have resulted with Wriggle shrugging off your comments, attempting to be seductive in her voice sounds like an insects, and you whiting out. In the morning (relative morning, at least), you would would wake up, your skin red and raw where she had torn you to pieces, along with being completely drained. In other words, you get raped. Be glad you weren't conscious for it.

As I said earlier, what Wriggle did to him is very different than what Margatroid did. So, attempting to create a similar feedback loop would have failed. There is also the consideration that you couldn't exactly formulate any complex thoughts, so you probably would have forgotten what you were doing, and may not have even spoken. In other words, it would have been up to the coin flip whether you would have still shouted. In retrospect, I might have even made it backfire, and you be completely conscious during her attempts.
[x] Ask how you would go about changing between forms, and attempt it now, if possible.
-[x] If successful, accompany Tokiko and help her with sorting.
-[x] If unsuccessful, accompany Mystia. She could do with some company.
[x] Regardless, see if you can hear the gears of your music box. If it changed shape like your left hand did, you probably won't be able to use your voice even if you focus on it.
File 135486526219.jpg - (294.95KB, 900x700, eh close enough agreed?.jpg) [iqdb]
[-y-] Ask how you would go about changing forms, and attempt now, if possible.
-[-y-] If successful, accompany Tokiko and help with her sorting.
-[-y-] If unsuccessful, accompany Mystia. She could do with some company.


Well, you're not going to remain with either one of them until you know when you're going to turn back into a form that can walk and talk, at the very least. So, glancing at Tokiko, you chirp, "Caweet, tetwit?"

"No, I do not have the fish of your broth Raoul." Tokiko sighs, before glancing upwards. "However, if I did, you can be assured that you would not get it back. It has been so long since the last time I have had a nice juicy fish slide down my throat. It is quite the delicious and delightful experience. I positively asphyxiate at the very thought."

Blinking, you are not sure whether she means what she says. Shrugging your wings, you try once more. "Caweet, tetwit."

Staring at you, the ibis claps her fingers together. "Oh, you were wanting to know how to turn back? Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

Above you, Mystia herself sighs, shaking her head at the absentminded girl. "That is what he said in the first place. Can't you understand what he is saying to you?"

"It is hardly my fault that I am not quite fluent in Kestrel." Huffing up, Tokiko crosses her arms once more. "His species is much more closely related to yours than he is to mine. Although, even an imbecile could have told that just by looking at him."

"Coo kwit?"

"Yes, I am very fond of that word. I am glad that you noticed, Tom."

Ignoring the byplay, Mystia answers in lieu of the ibis. "It isn't quite as easy as that, Lucas. Those forms that we take are… involuntary, to say the least. We regress into them when we need to heal, or take an extended rest."

Nodding into the sparrow's arms, you instead look at Tokiko. "Klikli caw."

"Yes, I know that I was in that form myself. But remember how much I detest this form?" Staring down at her body, Tokiko begins to sniff. "Especially the smell. It is much harder to regulate. I do not know how I was able to stand the stench on a daily basis."


"No, I can't. There are no horses here, much less any that I…" At the sparrow's stare, Tokiko blinks. "Not quite right? Ah, yes, much more logical. Have you seen a bath around here, anywhere? I am quite sure that the Master keeps a bath for her own sake somewhere, but there is not such a luxury for her servants."

"So, tell me, ibis…" Looking over your head, Mystia squeezes you closer. "Why are you here, anyways? If you hate that form so much, why are you in it?"

"…For several reasons." Counting them off on her finger, she shoots a wry grin at you as she begins to list off. "Firstly, it will take quite a bit of effort to go back to that form. You are incorrect in saying that is impossible to switch back until you are ready. Instead, it is merely very difficult."

Flicking another finger down, she continues. "Two, I am uncertain I would be able to fulfill the deal that I have with Tom here if we are both in our avian forms. As you might remember, I am much larger than he while in this form, so it might be somewhat untenable to attempt to fulfill our deal."

"A… deal?" You feel eyes burning into your forehead, and you automatically bury your head into the fabric of her dress. "What kind of deal is this?"

"None of your business. I personally don't mind sharing, and might even ask you to join in to the deal. However, I feel that Tom might want to keep it private himself for his own reasons." Not giving Mystia a chance to respond, Tokiko marks off the second finger. "And three… Three is the doozy."

"And that… is?"

The ibis shoots the sparrow her own look. "Now, you should be aware of how hard it is to infiltrate the food stores when you've only a beak to open doors. Although, it is possible with some rope, a fair amount of bricks, and a dirty ladle. I much prefer using these hands to do as such."

"Right…" Taking the same method that you use in conversing with the ibis, Mystia ignores her and looks back at you. "So, are you going to stay with me? Or are you going to… go with her?"

Well, that was the hardest of questions, was it not? However, as you don't seem to be changing back, and you've no idea of how how might change back, you might as well stay with Mystia. Either way you'd be useless, but at least she can understand you. Not to mention that you feel that she could use the company, also.

Pointing your wooden wing at the sparrow, you see a wide smile instantly grow on your face. "Alright then. Thank you, Lucas." Pulling you away from the warm embrace of her bosom, Mystia places you on her shoulder. You wobble from side to side as you get used to your new center of weight, but your talons do manage to get a grip, and you right yourself.

During that whole event, Tokiko just shrugs and turns away. "Alright then. But even if that's the case, I suggest you head down directly after you find yourself back with legs and hands. You would not want to upset her anymore than you have to." Flicking her wings up, Tokiko flits through the door, waving with a clawed hand as she walks away. "Have fun with the sparrow hawk, sparrow. I'd suggest you not appear too threatening, or he might have to eat you himself."

Both of your wings bristle as the girl vanishes, presumably heading out of the room. Once she thinks that Tokiko is out of hearing, Mystia relaxes, shaking her head side to side. Fortunately, the feathered ears on the side of your head barely scrape the top as they fly over you. "Something is wrong with that girl's head."


Mystia absently nods as she walks out of the door, glancing up and down the hallways. "Well, it hardly does matter. We need to go and see Okuu, so let's get going." Shutting the door behind her, she glances up and down the hall as she walks to the familiar entrance to the dark room. "So… Is there something you want to tell me?"

[ ] Tell about the deal. She needs to know, since she is the one you'd promise to help escape.
[ ] Tell about what happened. Is that normal?
[ ] Ask her if there is any way that she thinks that Wriggle could be taken down.
[ ] Deflect the question, and ask about her.
[ ] Obligatory Write-in Option. Not that you all need one.


Remember, next update is ze update. Need I explain again?

Also, I might point out that you should start thinking about how you can escape. I've got several scenarios lined up already, so it might be best to decide the mechanics of such a venture.
[X] Tell about the deal; secrets can undermine trust. Do point out that you are agreeing to it begrudgingly, not that the two of you have anything going on at this point.
Wait, so if I understand correctly, turning into this form is involuntary and occurs upon receiving sufficient damage, but we can choose to delay reverting even when we're sufficiently healed?

Well, the walls have ears and such. First things first:
[X] Ask her if Wriggle can understand you when you talk in this language(?).
-[X] Also consider if it would be possible to continue speaking in this manner after reverting.
[X] Tell about what happened. Is that normal?
[X] If it will indeed be incomprehensible to outsiders, ask her if there is any way that she thinks that Wriggle could be taken down.
-[X] Ask her if there are any other things made of the same material as the knife she handed you.
[X] Ask her if she wants to know about the deal. It's somewhat embarrassing (and you're still not entirely sure it was a good idea to go along with Tokiko's strangeness), but you'll tell her if she insists. After all, she is the one you'd promised to help escape.

>start planning out our escape
Wait, are we already nearing the final phase of the story, or will there be more to come after we escape? Or are you just going to dash our hopes repeatedly even as we come up with increasingly more desperate plans after each failure?
By the way anon, for the [ze] question, we probaaaably should ask about Marisa.
[X] Tell about the deal; secrets can undermine trust. Do point out that you are agreeing to it begrudgingly, not that the two of you have anything going on at this point.

Maybe she can help out somehow?

I say that you now have enough pieces to at least formulate an escape. It might be prudent to do as such, when there are plenty of choices to influence the story. And the story ends once you escape, assuming that you don't give a damn about Margatroid and Amsterdam, leaving them to rot.

But I like that metaphor. I am the sea, this story is the rock, and your hopes are the little lifeboat struggling to stay afloat.
[X] Tell about the deal; secrets can undermine trust. Do point out that you are agreeing to it begrudgingly, not that the two of you have anything going on at this point.

There wouldn't happen to be dangerous reef near the rock would there? Or perhaps some blood thirsty sharks?
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[-z-] Tell about the deal; secrets can undermine trust. Do point out that you are agreeing to it begrudgingly, not that the two of you have anything going on at this point.


There is one important thing that you need to tell her. Mystia knows enough of what happened to you, especially if such things are known to have happened in the past. Besides, that isn't quite as controversial, so you need not get it out of the way now.

However, there is one thing that is going to cause a problem. You know not why Mystia dislikes Tokiko, but you imagine it has to do with the latter's abrasive personality grating on the former's senses. The deal that Tokiko had proposed, and you had subsequently accepted, at least in part, would most likely do even more to rile her.

Best to share now, though. You hope that she doesn't do anything crazy about it because you mention such a thing. "Craw klica…"

"So, it was true?" You feel her eyes fall upon you as she begins to walk through the one dark room once more, the air in the dim antechamber as still as the grave. "I had thought that the ibis was merely spouting off more nonsense. But what could you have agreed to, and for what reason?"

"Kloo…" Sighing, you nestle your head in your feathery chest, trying to appear as small as possible. "Klika, killy."

"Hmm…" You feel her voice hum softly as she makes her way into the stone dining room, her head glancing from side to side. "No sight of her… I don't suppose you can see her?"

"Ca." Your eyes feel poorly suited for the dark. Perhaps it may be due to the form you are in now, but you can barely see anything over the flames.

Nodding, Mystia begins to quickly move about the stone table in the center of the room. "Understandable… Well, I'll be careful." She is silent for a few more seconds as she approaches the door opposite, which leads to the ramp that takes you to the roof. "So, she agreed to provide you with information? It looks like she's doing more than that…" Her eyes flick at you once again as she walks through yet another doorway. "If she was merely doing that, she wouldn't have taken you out of Wriggle's chambers, would she? What did you promise her to do that?"

As the sparrow shuts the door behind her, you realize that now is when you have to say. Pointedly looking away, the small squawks leave your beak, almost too softly to be heard. "Killy klikli, cawarekli."

"What." Mystia stops in her tracks, nearly throwing you off. Before you can recover your balance, her hand snatches her off of your perch, before holding you scant inches from her face. "You're telling me you gave that away just to get her help? Was that what you were doing in that room with her? Fulfilling that debt? Or just practicing?"

A small bit of panic begins to grow when you realize that her grip is firm enough to keep you from escaping. You try to calm yourself down by remembering that this is Mystia. She wouldn't do anything like that, right? "Kree… cawr ke."

"So you haven't done such a thing yet? That's a… relief." Her voice doesn't match her expression, as you can't tell whether the fire burning in her eyes is either from the braziers or her own emotions. "But… Why make such a deal with her? I…"


"I… see." Sighing, Mystia slowly loosens her grip, allowing you to stand on her palm instead being left in a chokehold. If she wasn't going to help at all, I can see why. But why would you give away something so precious…"

You don't even feel the need to answer, staring down the girl. "That is a bit dumb, isn't it? Still, I don't like it…" Sighing, you feel her thumbs stroking your feathers slightly as she continues to stare at you. "Would it really be freedom? Or would you just be transferring the yoke from one master to another? She could control everything that you do, merely because she would have your child…"

That particular thought had not crossed your mind, but you suppose that it's water under the bridge. If you renege on the deal, you can't imagine what she'd do aside from simply going back to her bird form and not helping one whit. "Teweekli."

"At least you have a way out, if you are unable to do what she wants you to…" Still, the girl's eyes are troubled, and there is quite a bit of fire lurking deep within. "I still hate the sound of it. I had this wild dream that maybe you could be right, and that the two of us could escape…" Biting her lip, a small blush appears on the girl's face. "But never mind. At least now, you have a chance…"

Glancing around, she brings you even closer. At this distance, you can feel the hot breath washing over your face with word. "Do you have any idea? I don't know too much, but perhaps you have learned something that I do not know…"

[ ] Do you have a plan?
Well, I thought that this one was appropriate to end it on, considering that I've a question to answer. Gonna see how perceptive you are, or if you're inventive enough to think of something I hadn't considered.

Why would I need sharks when there is a nasty undertow prepared to pull your vessel over the shoals, breaking the keel before you realize what is happening?
Please, for the love of all that is good and right, let the gods of write-ins smile upon us. Finals are sapping too much from me to plan anything.
So, what resources and abilities do we have on hand?

Mystia's knife, probably wrought of cold iron. Though one has to wonder why she hasn't attempted to use it herself: Fear of failing to drive the knife in, or fear of finding out the knife won't work on Wriggle?

The scythe we found, almost certainly made of cold iron. However, we should also take into account that it might not absolutely be guaranteed to work.

One detachable wooden hand, which has been shown to operate regardless of being attached or not. (Think Thing from the Addams Family TV series: Any chance of us being able to operate that hand remotely with enough practice?)

Potential indirect assistance from Margatroid and the dolls. Tokiko has vouched for the blade's lethality, but should we need a second opinion...

Our "Music Box". What can we do with this besides mimic voices? How can we put mimicking voices to use?

Tokiko's assistance. Whatever that grants us.

Anything else I've missed so far?
Tokiko also know of hidden passage ways, which we could make use of.

Another thing one could do is make use of fear. She seems to vastly dislike your hand. Maybe have it "go missing" while you are asleep? Make her paranoid that it has come to life, perhaps
Not voting for anything yet because we need to plan this out. However we need to get stock of all our available resources and confirm information from both Msytia and Tokiko.

Considering what happened to the scyth's last bearer Lucas will need to get answers from Msytia.
Also his ability to change his voice will be useful for tricking the Raven into setting things up for the party's escape/killing attempt.
Since Wriggle no doubt has a way of tracking from smell, Lucas could set up decoy areas with mussed up clothing or if really desperate use his wooden hand as a decoy. Probably will need Lucas, Msytia, and Tokiko working it out over a duration of time.
We ought to spend some time meditating on I AM I and see what that brings.

And to shoot off some arbitrary questions:
Just to be sure, Wriggle is Fae and not just fae, yes? Have we any idea what titles she has?

Have we seen rags of any sort anywhere, which could potentially be fashioned into gloves of some sort, allowing us (or someone else) to hold the scythe?

Also, do we know the resonant frequency of glass?

The resonance frequency is not something that is known by him, but he would be aware of the concept. Should you choose, you could attempt testing.

Also, I will emphasize what letter of update this is. If you want a question answered before you vote, I can do that. Make sure it's worth it, though.
I really don't like this idea of mine, but Lucas could trick the Raven into escaping by using Wriggle's voice. He could command her to go to say Margatroid's place and use his knowledge of the distance between the two areas and get a rough estimate of Wriggle's response time. Halve the time that Wriggle wasn't back and assume that's the bear minimum of time they have to escape. Or perhaps if he intends to divert Wriggle's attention to the Raven and make a break for it in the meantime.

Personally, I think the first thing Lucas should do is ask how often Wriggle is out. If it is indeed often, Lucas should bide his time with the others and prepare for one successful outbreak rather than get shutdown prematurely. Also ask around for nearby structures and holdings.
Would the extent of Wriggle's power and her weaknesses be a valid ze question? Or perhaps how to access our own power, however small?

I will shoot down any question that would break the game too much. I merely ask that you think on it good and well, to ensure that you ask something that may be worth it.
Then what would be a valid question in that regard? How much power Wriggle has in her burrow? What titles she has?
All of the questions you have answered are sufficient. This is a decision that the anons must decide, so I'm going to refrain from helping much.

That is, except in pointing out again that Marisa will not show up in the main story, for the sake of >>26714
Well, I don't really think we have anything planned yet. Maybe we should make a vote just that puts offically puts our options on the table in game.

As for the question, I'm torn between two possible lines of questioning. The first is asking what "freedom" would entail. For example, would we manage to escape back to our world? Would any changes inflicted onto us be reverted? Would we be changed by the land into more feral (or should the word be fae?) like youkai ourselves, should we succeed in slaying or escaping Wriggle, but not leaving Gensokyo?

The second question deals with any consequences of killing Wriggle. Is she the one maintaining our presence in Gensokyo (such that killing her would snap us back)? Would killing her bring down this Gensokyo's equivalant of Yukari upon us for disrupting the balance, or cause a power struggle in the vacuum left behind that could get us caught in the crossfire?

Here's my version of the vote: Feel free to refine as you wish. Haven't decided on the question: Maybe Anon can help decide.

[x] Twit! (I don't really have anything just yet. I have a few independent pieces of the puzzle, but nothing fits together for now.)
[x] Cheap chip.(I found a Scythe that Tokiko said has similar properties to the knife you gave me. Seeing how you haven't attempted to use it yet, do you have any reason to believe the knife (and hence the scythe by extension) wouldn't work on her?
[x] Chirp. (Margatroid also said she might be able to lend some measure of assistance, although taking direct action against Wriggle is out of the question for her.)
[x] Coo. (This hand of mind is detachable though, and works even when it's not attached. I might have to practice and see what I can accomplish with it.)
[x] Twit! (I don't really have anything just yet. I have a few independent pieces of the puzzle, but nothing fits together for now.)
[x] Cheap chip.(I found a Scythe that Tokiko said has similar properties to the knife you gave me. Seeing how you haven't attempted to use it yet, do you have any reason to believe the knife (and hence the scythe by extension) wouldn't work on her?
[x] Chirp. (Margatroid also said she might be able to lend some measure of assistance, although taking direct action against Wriggle is out of the question for her.)
[x] Coo. (This hand of mind is detachable though, and works even when it's not attached. I might have to practice and see what I can accomplish with it.)
[z] What are the ramifications of leaving Wriggle's presence for Lucas and party?

Just an idea for the [z] question. I doubt that Wriggle is the only big name around and I also doubt that the surrounding youkai are generous enough to leave relatively defenseless youkai alone.
As this one relates to how the story would end, I'd rather decline that one.
[x] Twit! (I don't really have anything just yet. I have a few independent pieces of the puzzle, but nothing fits together for now.)
[x] Cheep chip.(I found a Scythe that Tokiko said has similar properties to the knife you gave me. Seeing how you haven't attempted to use it yet, do you have any reason to believe the knife (and hence the scythe by extension) wouldn't work on her?
[x] Chirp. (Margatroid also said she might be able to lend some measure of assistance, although taking direct action against Wriggle is out of the question for her.)
[x] Coo. (This hand of mine is detachable though, and works even when it's not attached. I might have to practice and see what I can accomplish with it.)


Well, that is a loaded question for the ages. A plan to get out of here. You honestly cannot say that it's the case that you do. There's too much that is going on, and too much that has happened for you to have a coherent plan. There are plenty of things that might help, and could possibly help you out.

Sadly, you've not the chance to actually sit down and think about any of this. You're too busy doing stuff for that bug to sit down and contemplate how to get away from her. So, you go ahead and admit what you do know. "Twi… tetwit."

"Oh…" The sparrow's wings fall as she glances away from your face. "I had hoped that you had an idea… But I shouldn't have assumed that you would. At least you've had a few ideas…"

Well, it's best to start asking, while you have a moment. Mystia herself has a few things you'd like to know. None the least of which would be about the knife. "Cheep… chip cheep. Klikilly."

The girl finally looks back at you, tilting her head to the side. "You found something else down in the depository? That sounds… Odd. Why would something like that be there…" As she continues to think, her wings droop even further. "Of course, that's almost like she found that knife, originally…"

For a few moments, Mystia did not speak. Tilting your head to the side, you reach down and gently nip her hand to remind her that you're still there. "Teweet?"

"Who do you think? It was Aya…" She glances away for a moment, before looking back at you. "She was the last one who really fought back against Wriggle, years and years ago…"

Biting her lip, she glances away. "Stubborn crow never gave up an inch against Wriggle. I don't know why that the Master let her get away with everything, but she did. It seemed that she had taken a shine to her…"


Idly, Mystia nods in front of you. "That's a good point. She does— did rag on Hatate a lot. Wriggle was odd… But even Aya could push her to her breaking point. That's when she tried to use the knife on her…"

Silently, you wait for her to continue. The girl flinches at the memory, but eventually does, her voice slightly shaking. "Aya… Took the knife when Wriggle had gone too far one day. She took it, and stabbed it into that thing's heart… And Wriggle just laughed at her, stabbing her hand into Aya's…"

You don't know much that you can do, as she continues to shake at the memory, so you just rub your head against her hand and wait for her to come back to her senses. "I don't know what Wriggle did with her after that. She took her away… But she left the knife. I know that our claws are nearly useless, so I thought it was something…"

Still, that did leave one question for you. "Cewee?"

"Because it does cut more easily than the other knives. I figure that since you're getting closer to being in trouble with her, you should just keep it. That way, you might have a chance…" Mystia bites her lip while looking away. "Just remember that the monster has no heart… You won't be able to kill her that way."

Nodding, you glance away at the empty halls for a moment. Your eyes fall on another torch that is flickering softly in the darkness. "Cee… Te chirp."

"What? That Youkai has plans to…" Still a bit shaken from earlier, Mystia looks at you closely once again. "That must be a joke, right? Margatroid would never help any of us… Why would she? She's one of them…"

Well, it looks like you will need to persuade her, and quickly. You don't have time for a protracted argument, and the girl is already skittish enough…

[ ] Convince her that Margatroid is on your side.


Can hardly continue when you all are the ones that brought this up. Might want to go ahead and fix this.
[X] When last we spoke she seemed a fair bit more human in her manner than when first I met her.
Guys, brilliant idea. Wriggle doesn't have a heart, right? But she's a firefly. A firefly can't be a beautiful firefly if you tear out their shiny bits.

What I'm suggesting is that, if we ever fight Wriggle, we aim to knife her in the shiny, firefly glowy-bits.

By which I mean, we shank her butt.

[X] When last we spoke she seemed a fair bit more human in her manner than when first I met her. Also she wants me in good health so I can repay for certain services.

Butt shanking is a pretty funny idea. Then again considering what we heard about her taking a knife like it was nothing, running and screaming sounds more and more appealing every time.

Also any ideas for the z question people?
[x] She's something like a doll the same way you and I are like birds: she was once human, and was changed by a youkai. Despite what she's done to me, there's still a part of her that's human.

How about we explain exactly why we trust Alice, instead of restating "Well, I think she's ok."
[x] She's something like a doll the same way you and I are like birds: she was once human, and was changed by a youkai. Despite what she's done to me, there's still a part of her that's human.

I like this. It's a lot more clear.
[x] She's something like a doll the same way you and I are like birds: she was once human, and was changed by a youkai. Despite what she's done to me, there's still a part of her that's human.

Yes, this sounds best.
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[-b-] She's something like a doll the same way you and I are like birds: she was once human, and was changed by a youkai. Despite what she's done to me, there's still a part of her that's human.


Time to just go ahead and lay it all out. As much as you hated to betray Margatroid's trust, as you are about to do, it is something that you feel must be done. Besides, she knows that it would come out sooner or later. At least, you assume as much.

Pushing the thought out of your head, you respond. "Cheerwit, cheep chip…" For the first time in a while, you feel uncomfortable in your avian form. That just could be caused from your annoyance considering your lack of speaking ability at the moment. But as you bring up to mind the reasons that you know Margatroid is on your side, some other memories float to the surface to emphasize how wrong this situation is.

For her sake, Mystia blinks, before parroting your tweeting. "She's… She's like us? How is that possible? That one gets along with Wriggle of all people… And she acts so much like a Youkai. Like one of them." Blinking, she strokes your wooden wing, before pulling you closer against her chest. "She cut off your hand, on top of all of that! How can you forgive…"

"Caw, illykli cah." Personally, you don't know if you've quite forgiven her for that. Considering her reaction, and how much she has been through, you can understand why. At least it is a constant, permanent reminder that you're not completely a beast.

The sparrow just sighs. "Are you so sure that part of her is still human? Wriggle acts human enough at times, and then she… She…"

Well, looks like you're going to have to let the cat out of the metaphorical bag. "Cehweet…" Too bad you can't see the look on her face when she finds out. "Twit."

You have to latch on with your feet in order to keep from falling to the ground, Mystia's hands had gone slack, and her voice is quite shaky. "Her memories… In your head? How is even such a thing possible? Why is even such a thing possible?"

Images flash into your mind, the terrible numbers and shapes and colors that your mind just could not comprehend. Something Margatroid tried to show you, and an identity that you tried to define. It was something you could not understand, and you probably never would have without the help of another.

Best to shove those thoughts to the side. As much as they are your own now, you do not wish them to become that which is in control, yet again. That was quit the horrifying experience, thinking that you were in the wrong body. Instead, you merely explain. "Klikilly, tekli caweekli."

Mystia just stares at you some more, before pulling you closer. "I don't even know how you're still so sane after going through such a thing… But I'm glad that you are. I don't know what I would have done…" The girl trails off, looking away as she squeezes your small body.

Honestly, could you still call yourself sane after all that you have been through in this land? After all that everyone else has been through? You may be starting to make some sense of this world, but there is always the remote chance that doing such a thing could only make it worse for your sanity in the end. "Cree…"

That makes Mystia laugh slightly as she places you back on her shoulder. "I suppose so… Is anything still sane anymore? I don't know if I could even tell." Waiting no longer at the entrance, she begins to climb the ramp towards the entrance to the tree itself. "Still… Thank you, for trusting that with me. I want to trust you, but it's hard to tell with the Youkai always…"

Well, you suppose that it is a good thing that you did go ahead and tell. More secrets probably would not have helped. Even as you ponder on how she might have reacted if you had not shared her fears, she approaches the ladder that takes one to the top of the tree. "Listen, Lucas… I might need to have you do me a favor."

Tilting your head to the side, you wait for her to begin speaking. "I need you to distract Okuu while I steal her eggs. She is quite protective of them, but at the same time, she also enjoys shiny things…"

"Coo wit?"

"…Shiny things which I forgot to bring." Sighing, she grabs a rung before looking down. "Which is why I need you for a distraction. It won't take long, and I'll make sure nothing bad happens to you…"

[ ] Agree to be the distraction.
[ ] Go and look for something shiny.
[ ] Decline.


Z question is still up in the air. I'd like to answer it tonight, or as soon as possible, so get to cracking.

Also, apologies for the paucity of recent updates.
>Also, apologies for the paucity of recent updates.

It isn't really your fault: We just got stuck on a hard vote choice. Not like you could have written without a vote.

I don't suppose waiting for us to be revert back to humanoid form so that we can use Wriggle's voice as the distraction is an option, is it?

Well, I mean that especially in the case that they're short, as well.

Yes, you could try and wait around and do that. Just remember all of the circumstances. Contemplation upon cause and effect would do you well.
[X] Go and look for something shiny, yet quite hard to choke on. Best make it child-safe, just in case; it would do you no favor if she were to die.
I don't think this would be a good time to try using Wriggle's voice on Okuu anyways. If we do, and Wriggle finds out that we're capable of doing so, we would have wasted the chance to use it later for something more important. For now,

[x] Go and look for something shiny.
[x] Go and look for something shiny.

At least we know now that we have to dismember Wriggle or something more overkill than stabbing her, full tactical dismemberment with a cleansing of fire maybe?
[-c-] Go and look for something shiny.


As much as you might enjoy playing as the bait for that raven, you think it might be a better idea to use your brains for once. If you can only find something that might distract her, if only for a little bit, you won't have to worry about being used as a toy. "Tweeklikli."

Mystia shoots you a look, somewhat anxiously looking about. "Are you sure that would be the best idea? We're all the way here, so we'd have to go and find something. And I don't have anything in the kitchen that might work."

Still, you were insistent. Shaking your head, you point your wooden wing back the way you two came. "Kooklieet."

"I know that it would be safer for now, but I wanted to do this quickly. If Wriggle finds us…" Even at your words, she turns and begins to walk down the ramp. "But let's see. There is nothing in the kitchen that could possibly be useful. Or in any of the other nearby rooms. The only thing I can think of is perhaps that book depository…"

You nod your head idly as you continue to walk down the steps. "Coo…" Of course, you could possibly grab a well-polished pebble from the floor and use it instead, as that might be enough to distract her. However, that would make this whole event a waste of time.

As you approach the door once more, you find yourself glancing to the left. Just as this one tunnel had curved away from the door, there was another heading to the right. However, this one seems to not have any fires lighting its path up into the distance. You do your best to peer up at it, barely taking the time to listen to Mystia.

"Looks like I'm going to have to visit that crude ibis again… I wish that it wouldn't be the case… And so far out of the way…"

[ ] Speak up. Maybe there is something up this other path?
[ ] Don't say anything. You know that there is something over there.


Again, sorry for the short update. But considering that you've not walked but fifty feet… I've no way to make this any longer.
[X] Speak up. Maybe there is something up this other path? You wish that it weren't so dark, however...
[x] Speak up. Maybe there is something up this other path?

No harm in asking. If there's nothing, we can proceed on our way.
[ ] Speak up. Does she know if there is anything up this other path?

As a note, I'd rather have it more as a question than a suggestion.
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[-d-] Speak up. Maybe there is something up this other path?


Well, going so far might be too much. If you have another option, you might as well use it. "Craw…"

At your cry, Mystia turns back, glancing up the dark slope. "I'm not quite sure about that, Lucas. None of us ever go there. There's no reason for us to go up in to that place… And I don't think Wriggle will like it if we do such a thing."

Well, considering that Wriggle is not here at the moment to stop you, you decide that now might be the best time to check it out. That is, assuming that there is something up there… "Krikli."

Mystia glances back at the door for a few seconds. "I'm not sure that this is the best idea… But we can go on ahead up there. If there is something of use in that part of the burrow…" Tepidly, she begins to walk up towards the darkness. Behind you, her wings begin to flutter in nervousness.

It doesn't take long for the complete darkness to wash over your eyes, completely preventing you from seeing anything around you. Consciously, you know there are stone walls surrounding you, as you can hear the echo of Mystia's feet hitting the floor.

As you ascend closer and closer to the surface, you hear Mystia gasp as she lurches forward, saving herself from tumbling over with a quick burst of her wings. "Stairs? Why do we have stairs up here…" Curiously, the sparrow begins to climb once more, moving over towards the wall so that she can use it as a guide.

At the same time, you have to wonder yourself as to why steps would be here. As Mystia's soft soles begin to echo, the sound is awfully familiar to you. There was one other place that you knew of that had a similar construction. "Cookwi."

"It is like the throne room, isn't it?" Mystia's voice automatically drops to a whisper, trying to keep the noise down. "None of the lower levels have steps… So it is like that part?" You don't bother to respond as she eventually comes to a stop. "I've found something. I think it's… a door?"

Her nails scrape across wood as she searches for the knob, the talons causing you to wince at the sound. "I think that I've… Yes, I've found it. Let's see what is in here…" With that, she turns the knob.

Moments later, you bury your head into the sparrow's neck to keep the light from blinding your eyes.

"…So bright. What is…" Mystia herself has to shield her eye eyes as she walks through, shutting the door behind her. "What is this place? Why would this be?" She gasps as her head turns up. "Lucas… Do you see this?"

Looking up from her shoulder, you feel your beak drop open at what you see above you. Clouds lazily drift along, covering a burning sun that peeks out from behind every wispy lump. As you watch, you cannot help the feeling that is growing within you.

There is freedom staring at you, and all you would have to do is to spread your wings and take it. A small chitter leaves your mouth as you begin to give in to the urge to take it.

[ ] Spread your wings and take to the sky.
[ ] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?
[X] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?
[X] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?

If it seems too good to be true...
[X] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?
-[X] "Mystia, we need to turn back. Now."

It's too easy. Too obvious. Why would this be here?
[X] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?
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[-e-] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?


Wait a second. You know that this shouldn't be real. Some way out of Wriggle's grasp, and so easily accessed? As much as part of you wants to go ahead and fly away into the light, you should at least make sure that you actually can. For all that you know, this could be part of an elaborate trap that the monster of a girl was planning.

Shaking your head out of your reverie, you force your eyes back down. Mystia herself seemed to be caught up in the same feeling that ensnared you but moments before. The sparrow's wings began to spread, and you could see the muscles tensing in the light.

That wouldn't do, not in the least. "Kliklikli!" Shouting loudly, one of your wings flaps so that it smacks her ear. "Killykilly. Klikillycaw!"

After a few moments, during which you smack her ear with your wing once again, she finally comes to her senses. "…Lucas? What's going on?" However, she still does not turn her eyes away from the ceiling, and you feel her desire to take to the air once more.

"Caw, cooweet." That is something you're going to have to discourage post-haste. As much as you want to fly away, you need to point out that it is obviously a trap. Or at the very least, it is something similar to the tree, and you could not pass through the top "Kerwee."

Ever so slowly, the girl tears her eyes away from the ceiling. "You're… you're right. That would… hardly be the case, wouldn't it?" Even as she speaks, her wings still continue to flutter behind her, poised to take off at any moment. "But it's so close, and no one is here to take it away from me…"

Would Wriggle even have to be around to take anything from her? Knowing the monster, she could probably be right around the corner, ready to shoot her down the moment she takes off. As interesting as this is, you need to look around. Maybe then you can find out what you're here for. "Tertwee… Twi—" Before you can continue, you find yourself choking on your voice as you stare at what is in front of you.

"What is it? We did come here to look for…" Mystia herself chokes up as she follows your eye. There in front of you both is an enormous sunflower head. The petals on the edge are withered, as if it had been in the sun for far to long. A stem that had once been so green is beginning to brown, growing old and aged in the pure light.

However, that is not what draws your attention. In the head of the flower there are hundreds upon hundreds of seeds. The moment you realize what it is that you are staring down, that horrible scent begins to drift over your nostrils. Talons dig in to the sparrows shoulder as you see the few spots where seeds have been removed. "Kwi…"

"I know… That's… That's…" Mystia herself is at a loss for words. Even as you two stand there in shock, the sparrow takes a step away, trying to put as much space between the two of you and the flower. "I knew that she had to get them from somewhere, but I hadn't thought it'd be so near…"

You suppose the girl really had been downtrodden if she had been here for so long, and she hadn't explored this far. Then again, considering the reaction Wriggle has whenever you go too far… You begin to wonder if you've made a mistake coming up here. Still, you might be able to find something else up here. "Coklee. Tewi."

"Yeah, let's… Let's see if we can find anything else here that we can use…" More than anything, you figure that you should just stay as far away as possible from the sunflower. Best not to risk getting near it.

As you back away and come closer to the wall, you realize that there is far more in this room than just the flower. The head of that enormous plant filled the center of the room, but around the edges there are all sorts of debris that litter the floor.

For the most part, they seem to be old pieces of furniture, where such a thing would count. Smashed chairs, tables that were broken up, and what appear to be changing screens are all left in pieces.

The oddest thing is that everything seems to be made of this strange bamboo material. While you are not quite familiar with it, there is something that just doesn't seem right when you take a closer look at it. The wreckage seems to surround the room, and a great deal of it you cannot even identify. However, considering the considerable amount that lies here, you might be able to salvage something usable. "Kwee?"

Mystia bites her lip, before glancing around. "I suppose we can check… Come on. Let's be quick. There might be something to be found soon…"

As you began to search, though, you realized it would take a while to find anything. Even if the entire room was bright, the chips of the odd looking bamboo are everywhere, covering anything that might be useful. All that you can find for the first few minutes are pieces of furniture, along with the odd piece of clothing that was seems to be disintegrating along with the flower.

As far as you are concerned though, this is taking too long. Even with your eyes helping, you can't see much as Mystia has to move a lot to even have a chance at finding anything. You take a moment to consider whether it might be faster to go on your own and look about. The only problem is that you still don't know how to fly, and you can hardly walk about as it is.

[ ] Stay with her. Two eyes are better than one.
[ ] Split up. You probably should get used to moving in this form, anyway.


Still ideas for the z question? That's perfectly fine. You can always hold onto it, if you want.
[X] Split up. You probably should get used to moving in this form, anyway.
>What is presumably Elly's scythe and hat lying in the library
>Chronicle of Yuuka's life in same library

>Giant sunflower owned by Wriggle producing mind altering seeds

This is the part where we should be running around screaming in terror, shouldn't we? Out of story, I mean.

[X] Split up. You probably should get used to moving in this form, anyway.
[x] Stay with her. Two eyes are better than one.
--[x] That sunflower is dying. While it may be the source of those seeds, it's not responsible. While around, see if you can't find some way to water it, even from a distance.

Because such a massive plant deserves at least some degree of respect. And it's as much a prisoner here as anyone, it seems.
Also because we might actually recognize that flower, given that we read that story. Also, if we do recognize it., a way to free it would be nice too.
>>26771 Here again

Also because we might actually recognize that flower, given that we read that story. Also, if we do recognize it., a way to free it would be nice too
[X] Stick together, but move under your own power. Two eyes are better than one. And it isn't a good idea to get used to moving in this unfamiliar form which you don't know the limitations of without anyone to watch over you. Mystia can also help you watch out for dangers and carry you if you end up exhausting yourself. Hopefully you won't slow her down too much.

Is this a valid vote?
[x] Stay with her. Two eyes are better than one.
>>26770 Here. I'm changing my vote to this if possible.

[X] Stick together, but move under your own power. Two eyes are better than one. And it isn't a good idea to get used to moving in this unfamiliar form which you don't know the limitations of without anyone to watch over you. Mystia can also help you watch out for dangers and carry you if you end up exhausting yourself. Hopefully you won't slow her down too much.
[-f-] Stick together, but move under your own power. Two eyes are better than one. And it isn't a good idea to get used to moving in this unfamiliar form which you don't know the limitations of without anyone to watch over you. Mystia can also help you watch out for dangers and carry you if you end up exhausting yourself. Hopefully you won't slow her down too much.

It is. But, now I have to write the update again. Take two.


As much as you would prefer to go looking on your own, you decide that the best thing to do would be to stay with the sparrow. There is little that you can gain by yourself as it is. You'd have to risk diving into the crushed wood in order to even find anything.

However, it would be a good idea to try and move on your own. If you are stuck in this form for much longer, you should at least try and learn how to move in it. You cannot ride on Mystia's shoulder the entire time.

So, as she stands back up from checking another pile, you chirp at her. "Klikil." Without waiting for her response, you spread your wings and begin to flap them.

You do not move very far at first, but at least you console yourself that you are not smacking into the back of a wall once more. Mystia herself just stares at you as you leave your shoulder, lifting up slightly into the air.

The feeling of flying is a somewhat strange one, as you feel that there is nothing supporting you aside from the air underneath your wings. Glancing down, you do notice that one of the girl's hands is out and moving under you, prepared to snatch you from the air should you begin to fall.

However, you feel something within you that lets you know that you will not fall. Even with a stiff and wooden wing, you still are able to maintain your position in the air. With but a flick of your wings, you begin to fly forward through the air, slowly circling over the mess.

"Having fun up there? Just don't fly too high, now." You turn your head to look at Mystia, who is watching you curiously from the floor. "Didn't expect you to go that far. How are you doing that?"

Frankly, you don't have the slightest clue how you're staying in the air. Or flying, for that matter. You're not actually thinking about anything, but you're doing. Perhaps it is all just instinctual? "Kwee!" Setting down on a nearby stick of bamboo-like wood, you look down at her.

A small hint of a grin comes over her face as she continues to watch you. "I see. At least you're not doing what you did earlier. But just be careful. It's far harder to fly when you're big than when you're a bird." She doesn't spend too much longer admiring you, though, instead turning back to the rubble and searching once more.

Knowing that you should stay pretty close, you leap from your perch and automatically glide over. If you had a mouth that could, you would be grinning widely at the feeling. As terrible as what had happened to you, this itself wasn't too bad. Flying through the air is something that you once upon a time had faint dreams of, and this is far different than soaring on metal wings.

Enjoyable as it is, you stay tethered to the ground for the next few minutes as she continues to dig through the pile. After working her way through a fairly large section of the room and finding nothing but the same, you fly down yourself and begin poking through what looks like to be the remains of a dresser.

Poking your head through, you awkwardly begin to walk in. With these chicken legs of yours, you find it quite difficult to move in such a place. Part of you wants to hop along, but you cannot do that when you've wood surrounding you.

Out of the corner of your eye, you think you spot something. Knowing that it might take you forever to get to it under all this mess, you call out to her. "Killy khi caver here!"

You suck in your breath as you realize what had just happened. "I… Spoke?" Before you can react further, you feel your body move and begin to shift. Bone grinds against bone as skin and muscle stretch, growing larger and larger. Feathers begin to pull into your body as your head punches through the wood that is surrounding you.

Second later, you find yourself staring at a shocked and slowly reddening Mystia, whom for the first time looks normal sized. Looking down at yourself, you realize that there is one problem that currently besets you. Namely, the problem that is the lack of clothing on your body. "Well… Crap."

[ ] Go and look for some clothes. You don't think Mystia is taking this well.
[ ] Keep searching for the shiny. Stay on target!


Why do you assume that she is a prisoner?
[X] Keep searching for the shiny. Stay on target!
[X] Keep searching for the shiny. Stay on target!

Gotta have priorities.
[X] Quick! Tokiko said she could materialise clothes when she turned back! (>>26661) Try to-
-[X] How do you...? Uh... Crap.
-[X] Any idea, Mystia?
--[X] Oi. Mystia. Snap out of it.
--[X] Uh. Let's hurry up and finish so I can go get dressed afterwards.
File 135528245394.png - (49.81KB, 599x847, nice going.png) [iqdb]
[-g-] Keep searching for the shiny. Stay on target!


Nothing that you can do about it. Even though you've seen plenty of cloth, and what may have been at one point clothing, you aren't exactly in the biggest hurry to find something to wear. Granted, you've no idea where these clothes may have been, so you don't want to take the risk that it may have been somewhere that you don't want to know.

Still… Even though you consciously seem to have lost your desire to cover yourself, your subconscious is embarrassed enough that you end up covering your nether regions with your wings.

Mystia herself breaks her stare as you shift your wings, looking pointedly away. "I… I've never! Do you really…" At a loss from words, she turns away from you, raising her wings to shield her eyes should her head even dare turn to the side. "Should have expected that… You were acting fine, so it should have been soon enough…"

"Yeah…" Well, there's not much to say. But with your wings protecting your modesty, however little that you seem to have, you push yourself out of the debris, before glancing around. "Too bad that we need to hurry, or we could go find something."

Tilting her head to the side, she nearly turns her head about to glance at you. "Why can't we do that now? I'm sure there's something we can cobble together that would at least…"

"No, we need to hurry." You don't quite know the reason you are being so stubborn, but you figure you should just continue with your search. "So close to finding it…" As you turn to start digging in the debris, you are reminded of something. "Tokiko said she could create clothes when she turned back. How do I…?"

Turning back around, you look at the sparrow who is still looking away from you. "Mystia, do you have any idea how to do it?" All you see is the back of her head as she shakes it, the feathers fwipping back and forth in the still air.

Well, if she is too flustered to answer, or help you, you might as well start digging herself. You assume that she'll come to her senses eventually. Kneeling back down next to the pile, your claws begin to dig away at the pile.

As you do, you hear the girl bend you stutter. "W-why aren't you bothering to cover yourself up? Aren't you…"

"We need to hurry up, don't we? That way, we can get done before Wriggle shows up…" You don't look back at her as you push aside yet another piece of wood, revealing something that shines slightly.

Pulling it out, you recognize the feel of tend as the piece of metal deforms under your grasp. Carefully, you take a closer look at the ovoid shape that is perforated by dozens of holes. "I think… I think I've found something that might work. What do you think?"

"…Are you covered?"

Considering her reaction, you imagine that the girl had never seen another man naked before. That alone makes you wince, considering how much of a cad you'd have to be to not cover up for her. "I've got my wings covering me…"

Mystia doesn't respond at first, but instead just holds her hand out behind her. Her voice seems to be decidedly cooler as she responds. "Just give it to me. I'll check it."

Gulping, you hand it out to her, putting it in her hands. "I think it's a part of a watering can. Probably broken off at some point…"

Silently, Mystia takes it from you, before looking at it closely. "…This will do. Come on then, if you're in such a hurry." At that, Mystia began to walk towards the exit, skirting around the side of the giant flower.

Sighing, you shake your head at her. "Great… I screwed up, didn't I?" The girl does not respond to your words as she folds her wings tightly against her back so not to scrape the wall or any of the remaining pieces of wood. You yourself follow along quietly, wincing as your feet step upon the small pieces of bamboo-like wood. "Just hope I don't get a splinter…"

As you round the flower, you nearly run into Mystia who had stopped in her tracks. Not wanting to get too close and scare her, you lean up on your toes so that you can try and see around her. "What is it, Mystia—"

Your heart leaps into your throat as you stare at a heavily breathing, messy-haired, and thoroughly angry Wriggle. "Hello, pets. What are you doing up here?"

You find yourself unable to respond as Mystia begins to stammer her own response. "We're just t-trying to find something to h-help us get Okuu's eggs…"

"Do you usually have to have assistance to do such a thing, pet? I've had you do it for years, and you've never asked for such assistance. Why do you take my newest pet and try to have him help?" The monster of a girl begins to laugh as she approaches you two, her voice anything but amused. "I don't think that you were doing such a thing, girl… Else why would you be here?"

Mystia begins to back up as Wriggle pushes the two back from whence you came, up against the back wall. "But I was! W-what else would I be doing—"

Wriggle's head tilts to the side as she glances at you. "I don't think you were doing that. I think you were trying to break in my newest pet. After all, he was such a bad pet last night… Made me hit him quite hard. Many times. I'm sure you remember, don't you?"

Shaking at the anger that is nearly visibly radiating from the girl, you try to open your mouth and defend Mystia. "We weren't doing anything like that, Wriggle. We just—"

"Silence. The monster's eyes glows as she stares at you. "You… You deny me last night, and now you attempt to cavort with another of your fellows? I should have expected it… Why else would you be so insistent in trying to protect her?"

Wriggle forces Mystia to the side and grabs her arm, before approaching you. "So, tell me, pet, what is it that repulses you so? How is it that your master does not compare against this filthy bird that you so adore?"

[ ] Compliment Wriggle. Tell her you were just unprepared.
[ ] Insult Wriggle. Tell her that she is hideous in every way.


I love shiny objects.
[X] Compliment Wriggle. Tell her you were just unprepared, and that it was the fault of your head spinning from both the impact, as well as her... snack. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't have been like that. You couldn't think strait, and finish off with how you only just turned back into your humanoid form. Let her do what she will with that knowledge.
Wriggle, are you... Lonely?

This actually brings up an excellent question. It seems that Margatroid was once human. And maybe even Alice, before Margatroid, were human. That means that Wriggle, too, might have been human at one point in the distant past. Or maybe Wriggle was a firefly, and Alice was a doll- or a grimoire- both of whom became more human-like after the fact?

Everything thus far has been the result of eons upon eons of living as a Youkai, or how a Youkai should live. Underneath all of that, though, could there still be an ember of humanity yet burning?

Outside of this burrow, there is Gensokyo. A huge, diverse world, but a cage none the less- a cage where those trapped within are forced to live like this, or else be driven to it by the soul-twisting force of the realm.

Perhaps this burrow was underneath Yuuka's old sanctum, and Wriggle was once to her as we are to Wriggle? Certainly, it seems almost as if she's harvesting what might be Yuuka in order to turn others into Youkai. Eating the seed of a Youkai of Nature could reasonably result in one becoming a Youkai themselves.

But that's a digression. Wriggle is in front of us, and she is angry. Lying would not be appropriate, but to tell the complete truth would mean Mystia would... Probably not come out of it well. And we'd probably explode.

We know a few things about this girl now, though. She may appear vain, but her vanity is fragile. Easily broken. She is vulnerable but reacts to direct exploitation of those vulnerabilities through becoming very, very violent. She was clearly taken aback by what happened the previous night, and demanded that Lucas shut up before simply throttling him. And then she got angry enough to storm off to Margatroid's to do... Whatever it was she did.

Point is, she is not invulnerable. Beneath all the anger and the sadism, there seems to be something that is tremendously hurt. The most damaged of souls are often the ones capable of the most terrible acts of cruelty, after all.

Ultimately, and it comes out in my vote, the most vital piece of evidence is this: Wriggle tried to enchant us before we had the chance to see her. She's afraid of her own reflection, of someone shattering that delusion of beauty. She can't look herself in the mirror.

If Lucas is Lucas, then Wriggle seems to be trying everything that she possibly can to avoid being reminded that she's Wriggle.

Anyway, thoughts I've been mulling over. For now, I think I'll cast this vote.

It's a little long, but I was feeling creative- kind of on a roll.

[x] Could it be that, just maybe, I can look at someone and see more than just the outside? For all my adult life, all I've really had was what went on in my head- it gave me lots of time to think about lots of different things. The people around were never doing much of anything, but you could see right through most of them. It was the worst thing- you could see right through that mask.

--[x]But what really disgusts me the most- and it's not something that she's got and you don't- what disgusts me the most is that you're like them. Hiding behind an illusion, or a fantasy, or whatever. You're doing the same thing- you didn't want me to see your true form, did you?

----[x] So, I don't know. My head was still spinning, I might have had a concussion, nevermind that it was dark. So I don't know, Wriggle. What was it that you didn't want me to see?

------[x]What is it about your true shape that you're so ashamed of, that you'd need to twist my perception with an illusion?
[X] Do not freak out. Do not speak before thinking. Calm down.
-[X] Make a categorical argument. Cite her nature as being utterly alien to you. Her logic has, at times, also been incomprehensible. And while she has been tolerable at times, being continually talked down to and intermittently threatened doesn't endear her to you. The sending of an inhuman doppelganger and subsequent kidnapping didn't help much either.
-[X] Contrarily, you empathize more with the other inhabitants of the burrow, who are in similar situations to you. As Mystia has heretofore been the most comprehensible (and the most tolerable), you would naturally feel the greatest empathy for her.
--[X] On a side note, would you know how I could materialize some clothing? I feel a slight breeze picking up, so...
For a moment there, I thought someone hijacked my thread. However, I just wanted to point out that you have a Z question that is still available.

Heh. Sorry about that! I got a little carried away. It looked a lot shorter when I had typed it out!

Anyway, since we're holding onto that Z question and this seems like a good point to ask, maybe something to the effect of:

[z] Could you elaborate on how far psychologically gone long-time Youkai like Yuuka and Margatroid are? Is there anything substantial to them that we'd call human?

Besides their character flaws, I mean. Those are very tellingly human- nicely done on that, by the by.
[Z] Is there any way to get out of this situation without anyone being eviscerated?
[X] Compliment Wriggle. Tell her you were just unprepared, and that it was the fault of your head spinning from both the impact, as well as her... snack. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't have been like that. You couldn't think strait, and finish off with how you only just turned back into your humanoid form. Let her do what she will with that knowledge.

I hate catch 22's. This situation is like being asked by your psychotic girlfriend if her new pants make her look fat.
File 135530587726.png - (423.45KB, 600x600, celebration.png) [iqdb]
[-h-] Compliment Wriggle. Tell her you were just unprepared, and that it was the fault of your head spinning from both the impact, as well as her... snack. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't have been like that. You couldn't think straight, and finish off with how you only just turned back into your humanoid form. Let her do what she will with that knowledge.


It would be better just to fall glibly under her heel. No reason to risk yourself, and more importantly Mystia, to the whims of that girl. Wriggle is just like any other vain girl, and if you compliment her enough, she'll calm down. Or, at the very least, she won't kill you.

Doing so, you begin to shake your head, trying to explain yourself. "It's not that, Wriggle. I wasn't thinking straight last night… I had an injury…"

"And yet, you still tried to fight me. If you had no qualms, pet, you would have laid still and let your Master use you as I desire." Wriggle's eyes burn as she stares you down, those dark orbs piercing deep into your soul. "Instead, you struggled, you screamed, you did anything but do as your Master asks."

Bowing your head, you do your best to look as small as possible. "I wasn't prepared for such a thing, Wriggle. I've only been here a few days—"

Wriggle interrupts your excuses by smacking your face to the side, hard. "What is it that you address me by, pet?"

Nodding slightly, you ignore the sting in your cheek. "My apologies, Master. I was… I am unaccustomed to this whole ordeal."

Again, the eyes narrow at you. "So, merely being in my presence is an ordeal, pet? This is a trial? Some measure of tribulation that you must force yourself through in order to survive? You insult me, pet. You have insulted me again and again."

Stepping forward, she lets go of Mystia. The sparrow just stands there quaking in her shoes as Wriggle reaches forward with her free hand. An iron grip encircles your neck as you find yourself lifted off of the ground. "You ignore your Master's demands, what with your vaunted fire. You cast your Master to the side, wounding her with a voice of cursed metal. And now, you dare act contrite for your actions?" Pausing for a moment, she searches within your eyes once more.

After a few seconds more, her voice drops to a whisper. "Tell me… Tell me, pet. What is it that you think of me? What is it that you think now that you're free of those debilitating injuries that you so hastily induced upon yourself?"

Whether she means the blow to the back of your head or the beating she inflicted upon you, you have no idea. However, you simply continue on as you were, hoping that your initial thoughts prove true. "You're… You're quite the unique girl, Wriggle. You're not that bad looking, even if you are a bit short. …Your hair is pretty, though…"

The monster of a girl simply stares at you as you speak, and you slowly lose the will to continue. A hum leaves her throat as she tilts her head to the side. "Pet… You lie."

Before you know what has happened, you fall to the ground once more, having been tossed forward by Wriggle. "I tire of this. I expected to come back and educate you further once I had convened with the elemental. However, instead, I find my pet disobeying my orders, traipsing about where he does not belong. Not only that, but he lies to my face."

Wriggle just frowns, before kneeling down to the ground. "I own you pet. Do not have any mistake about it. You signed away everything the moment you took of my seed. Your mind… Your body… Your soul is mine to do as I please." Her hand trails along one of the bamboo-like rods that litter the floor, slowly wrapping around it as she stares up at you. "I have been lenient. Far too lenient. But this game that you have been playing is coming to an end."

As your eyes meet hers, you realize what she is about to do. Your wings spread wide, uncovering yourself as you raise your claws. Time slows as Wriggle grips the rod firmly before picking it up and thrusting it through the base of your neck.

Screams erupt in the silent room as pain envelops your body. Limbs go limp as the impromptu spear pierces your spine, separating it from your brain. Blood begins to pool in your mouth, gushing down your face like water flowing on a creek bed.

The last thing you see as your vision slowly dims is the sight of Mystia leaping towards Wriggle. The sparrow is easily batted away as your Master stares at you, her grin widening with every last gurgle that leaves your ruined throat. After an eternity of watching this sight, the world goes dark and you know no more.



Well, it did have to happen sooner or later. I'll post your choices from here on out later. Look on the bright side. At least Mystia doesn't need to get eggs anymore…
Goddammit. Guess we just didn't have the consensus needed among the write-ins.

[X] Back 72 choices.
Blurgh. Was about to vote for >>26784 too. Probably wouldn't have ended too well either way, though.
Well, it wouldn't have ended in a bad end immediately.
In retrospect, Wriggle did show herself to be extremely hostile towards pets taking the apologizing, placating route. Still, that spot was brutal.
Alright, here is the deal. We can go back to the previous choice and try again. I won't force you to make a choice between a bad end and a bad end, after all. And I have pointed out that one of the write-ins would not have resulted in a bad end.

At the same time, I'm going to leave the door open. Do you want to go back further? Mind you, the farther you go back, the more you'll lose in letters for the next Z vote. Go too far back (say, 5 or more votes), and I'll remove the current one that you have now, while resetting you back at a.

As for what you did wrong, Wriggle stormed all the way to Margatroid's abode, did whatever it is that she did there, before returning to the scene presented above. Granted, you could have found a way to annoy her even further than this, but as might be obvious by now, she is in no mood for games as she might normally be.

So, make your choice:

[ ] Back to previous vote, and minor dock in letters.
-[ ] (If this, insert vote desired)
[ ] Back further in time. Arbitrary dockage in letters will ensue.

But now, I will leave you with a little tidbit. To those of you who think you've found Yuuka, think of this. If this is the head of the flower, where would it be rooted, and what would be there?
Are you sure that's the word you're looking for? Are you actually going to, say, roll 2d10 and dock that many points? Because that would be awesome and I'm totally voting for it.

>And I have pointed out that one of the write-ins would not have resulted in a bad end.
Well, actually you said we wouldn't get bad ended immediately. It's probably still quite possible for us to get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Again.
Perhaps I did not mean that arbitrary. I meant it more in the case that I will pick a number that I feel appropriate.

I suppose that is the correct way to put it. However, I will never put in a choice if you have no way to get out of it. If I'm going to bad end you like this again, you'd be able to get out of it. However, it certainly could be possible that you'd end up on a path that takes you away from the good or true end.

Or, you could end up voting for something so boneheaded that I make you vote just to emphasize how bad of a decision it was, but you haven't done anything nearly that terrible. To be frank, I expected a bad end to happen long ago.
Well, I for one am willing to go back one step and try to calm wriggle down somehow. She seems to hate dishonesty and empty flattery, but she also has a grip on Mystia. So, we need to get her focused on us, and then get her calmed down enough to walk away. Maybe by subtly playing on her insecurities?

...This is gonna be tough.
>Even if it is what she asked for, the beast in >her will not agree to such mechanical sounds. >If you do not wish to fall to her hand, fall >to your instincts and use your magic."
Wondering, then why? Why did Wriggle request that change?

Anyways, it seems like magic is tied to Lucas's and the other birds' beast nature. A while ago when Mystia was lighting the broiler fire, she a said she was "dispelling an illusion".

Going back all the way rescinding the SHOUT, just to get mentally and physically scarred for the trouble is too much.

If this posts gets picked or we end up there later:
[x] Go and look for some clothes. You don't think Mystia is taking this well.If we're going to bluster our way out of this, we might as well get that out the way. And then follow that up with >>26533

That being said, here's a shot in the dark:
[ ] Spread your wings and take to the sky.
[ ] Wait… Are you sure that it is real?
[x] You need to know the truth. Fall to the beast, and dispel this illusion!

Also, if it's possible could you update the map?
File 135533129084.jpg - (286.58KB, 2000x6000, a map for you.jpg) [iqdb]
Here you go. I've been thinking about putting one up, but I hadn't found an update I'd like for it yet.

And that is a good question... How was she acting then, vs now?
Hmm. I'm wondering how much time we would have relative to Wriggle's time of arrival if we took different courses of action. What if we persuaded Mystia to get the heck out right after entering the room because HOLY SHIT IT'S THAT SUNFLOWER THIS CAN BE NOTHING GOOD THERE IS NOTHING FOR US HERE LET'S GO PLEASE NOW. It does seem like we spent a large amount of time searching, after all.
[X] Back to the choice of who to stay with while a bird; none of this would have happened, if we had simply gone with the one we were told to do work near.
>>26784 here.

I say we go [x] back one choice and do something along the lines of the insecurities I may or may not have identified.

Because if anything, the mere fact that Wriggle's here likely means that we're doomed, but then, what happens if we bring up her weakness?

Well, probably another bad end. Hm.

But then, we'd at least be honest. Perhaps proving that we can be both honest, perceptive and reasonable, she'd let us go for now.

[x] I don't think I have much right to presume. If you're so beautiful, why did you need to enchant me?
[x] The only reason I'm in this... Situation is because I just happened to recover this form five minutes ago. I didn't think that I'd recover enough to do my job for at least another few hours.
[x] And we did actually just come this way to find something shiny. That much was mostly my idea.
I was about to revote for the big vote before, but the version in >>26806 is probably better for the situation.

[x] I don't think I have much right to presume. If you're so beautiful, why did you need to enchant me?
[x] The only reason I'm in this... Situation is because I just happened to recover this form five minutes ago. I didn't think that I'd recover enough to do my job for at least another few hours.
[x] And we did actually just come this way to find something shiny. That much was mostly my idea.
[-f-] I don't think I have much right to presume. If you're so beautiful, why did you need to enchant me?
[-f-] The only reason I'm in this... Situation is because I just happened to recover this form five minutes ago. I didn't think that I'd recover enough to do my job for at least another few hours.
[-f-] And we did actually just come this way to find something shiny. That much was mostly my idea.


As she stares you down, you shake your head. You need to calm down and show her that you're not having any of this mess. She's the one that started everything, so if she is unhappy with the results. "I don't think that I have much right to presume, now do I? Tell me, Wriggle, if you're so beautiful, why do you need me to tell you? Why do you need to enchant me so that I will say that you are?"

The bug just looks back at you, her grin widening just slightly. "Oh, trust me, pet. I know that I am beautiful. I know how wonderful I am… I just want you to see it yourself." Letting go of Mystia, she moves towards you, her fingers twitching as if eager to wrap around your neck. "I don't mind a little resistance, but when you sing such horrid notes…"

"If you didn't want me to sing, then why did you fix it?" You can't help the question as she comes closer. "There was no reason to put me through such an ordeal, so why would you do it in the first place?"

"Because you were broken, pet. I cannot stand having anything broken be part of my home… That is, unless it is by my hands." Something glows in her eyes as she steps up to you. Her hands shoot out and grab your wings, pulling them away from covering your body. "Far from perfect. So many feathers…"

Both you and Mystia redden at her remarks, with the latter covering her eyes so that she wouldn't see that part of you. The girl's expression slowly darkens, and you see the hint of the monster within again. "However, tell me why it is that you are up here with this pet, prepared to put yourself within her?"

Even as you blush brighter, you can't help but to glare back at the girl. "I am not. I was still in the bird form when we were up here…" Sighing, you glance away at the sparrow for a second, which only serves to intensify the monstrous girl's scowl. "Besides, it is my fault we are up here. I thought we might find something shiny to distract Okuu…"

"Something… shiny." A strange look crosses the girl's face as she watches you. "You really are a dumb pet, aren't you? That sparrow never needs such help, so why would you bother to try and do such a thing? This is why I do not want you staying with the others. You claim to help serve me more efficiently, but in the end, you merely get distracted."

Letting go of your wings, Wriggle trails a finger along your chin. "You need a reminder of what your position is, here. I just went all the way over to pay Margatroid a lovely visit, the majority of which I spent eating her out of house and home, and now… Now you're here, disobeying me yet again. Never answering my questions… But at least you do not lie to me. I am in no mood for such games."

Backing away, she beckons Mystia over towards her. "Come along, pet. I have need of your services right now." Standing there more like a deer caught in headlights than a bird, Mystia slowly shuffles over towards the monster of a girl. "Good girl. Now, show him what it is that I want him to do. If he has such a lovely new voice box… He should learn how to sing."

Mystia's eyes shoot open, wide with terror. Looking down at Wriggle, the sparrow raises both of her hands to cover her mouth. "Don't… Don't make me do that! You know what this tongue of mine can do…"

"But night sparrow, is not your voice the best of those in my burrow? Who better to make an example?" Wriggle begins to laugh softly at the struggling girl. "Besides, anything that I threatened him with would hardly make him budge, would it?"

"Wriggle, don't bring her into this…"

"Too late. You already did." Chuckling softly, Wriggle circles around Mystia, before placing her hand on the taller sparrow's shoulders. "Now, sing for him, little sparrow… Or I'll tear your wings out."

Your claws nearly puncture your skin, so tightly are you clenching your hands. Mystia looks like she is nearly in tears once again, and is staring at you with those wide, purple eyes. You try your hardest to think of what you can stay as her eyes look at you for any bit of help.

[ ] She'll heal, right? And she seemed absolutely terrified of her voice. Tell her to keep silent.
[ ] You'll survive whatever it is that she can do. Tell her to sing. It's not worth the pain.
[ ] Try and bargain with Wriggle. Is there anything…


I said that you would have a path out. I never said it would be without consequences. Oh, and if you make a deal… No second chances here.

You still have your question, by the way. And I'll say I need at least 3 votes before answering, along with a clear consensus.

[x] You'll survive whatever it is that she can do. Tell her to sing. Endure it. To shirk this would mean betraying the entire point of this exercise.
[x]Secret Youkai Power Grab Option: Hearing her singing voice might let us mimic it later. A concert is likely better than a solo, especially when it comes to dealing with Nightbugs.
Well, I do believe that I shall be sitting out on this vot. I'm quite curious as to how things might go with the various rather... insteresting choices being made of late.

Food for thought: Why would Wriggle be in the same room with you two, if she were affected by the sparrow's song? It sounds to me as if she is uneffected by it, or at least not in the same way as ourself. And do think about how we likely aren't dealing with simple night-blindness, what with how Mystia fears her voice, so do be careful. But I'm babbling, so how about I shut my trap now, and leave you to your devices?
[x] You'll survive whatever it is that she can do. Tell her to sing. Endure it. To shirk this would mean betraying the entire point of this exercise.
[x] Secret Youkai Power Grab Option: Hearing her singing voice might let us mimic it later. A concert is likely better than a solo, especially when it comes to dealing with Nightbugs.

Maybe Mystia's voice draws its power from her 'beast' magic, and that's why Wriggle is unaffected by her voice. But we've already seen how much she was hurt by our ordinary voice of metal, so maybe it would be effective if we mimicked it?
File 135536618237.jpg - (439.63KB, 989x700, perhaps you will stop assuming soon.jpg) [iqdb]
[-g-] You'll survive whatever it is that she can do. Tell her to sing. Endure it. To shirk this would mean betraying the entire point of this exercise.
[-g-] Secret Youkai Power Grab Option: Hearing her singing voice might let us mimic it later. A concert is likely better than a solo, especially when it comes to dealing with Nightbugs.


There is no way that you can make Mystia go through such a thing. Even if she can heal after the injury, you're not going to ask her to go through that. So, instead, you look into her eyes and nod to her. "Go… Go ahead. I'll be fine."

Mystia still shakes her head at your insistence while something noticeably wet appearing on the edge of her eyes. "No you won't. Please… I'll be fine. You don't want to—"

The back of Wriggle's hand interrupts the girl, smacking her upside the head. "Sing to him, pet… Sing to him, or I will make you hurt like you will not believe." Her grin widens further, her teeth shining viciously in the light. "And you know how much I can do, pet…"

"I… I…" Mystia swallows as she stares at you, searching for something. You do your best to encourage her to sing, smiling weakly even as you to your best to hide yourself from her. Those purple eyes seem to click, before you hear a bestial growl slip out of her throat. "I won't!"

Spinning about, Mystia lashes out with her talons towards the face of her Master. Wriggle seems too stunned by the sudden refusal to even protect herself, not even bothering to hold up a hand as three scratch marks cross her cheeks. "You…" The air grows heavy on you as the girl’s eyes begin to glow; her terrible face a horrible sight to look at. "You."

Without another word, Wriggle snapped an arm out, grabbing one of Mystia's wrists before twisting. The sparrow bites the inside of her cheek as white bones burst out of her skin, her left hand shattered and nearly torn away from her body. "Yes, me! I'm not going to do that to him! Not that, anything but that." Her other hand lashes out, but is just as easily caught and broken by the monster of a girl.

Having overcome your own shock, you run forward and attempt to help her. Black claws flash as you brandish them at the girl. Before you can get close enough to Wriggle, though, you barely notice her fist flying from out of nowhere. Your clock is cleaned as you are physically launched into the air, flying away from the two angry girls.

Before you even land, Wriggle has already turned her attention back to Mystia. "You know how dangerous that is. You defy me, after so long? You are weak, compliant… I suppose no longer. I thought I had broken you completely." Reaching over the taller girl's shoulders, Wriggle snarled as she grabbed the base of the wings and pulled.

Mystia's cry thunders against your eardrums as you try and pull yourself back to your feet. As you turn your eyes back up to her, you watch as the girl kneels on the ground, her wings completely torn from her back. You walk closer as Wriggle knees the sparrow in the gut, before pushing her down. "Stupid damned bird…"

Without wait for an instant, Wriggle tosses one of her wings away, before taking the other one up into the air. With one quick thrust, she pushes it through Mystia's stomach, pinning her to the ground with the bone of her own wing. "Be glad that you have served me so well… Or I would have called your favors due." As you approach Mystia's form, Wriggle cuts her eyes to you.

"Don't think that she is so innocent, pet. She is the eldest of mine for a reason… Although, it is almost time to put her out to pasture." Wriggle laughs softly as she steps in front of Mystia's prone form, cutting you off. "Come with me. I have something to show you… Maybe then you will cease in this struggle…"

As she walks past, a hand trails along your shoulder. "Or, I will simply have to break you anyway." Once pass you, you feel her eyes burn into the back of your head. "I meant what I said, pet. Come along, now. Or you will be the next recipient of my mercy."

[ ] …Do as she says. What can you do?
[ ] The bitch just tore Mystia apart. Ignore her.
[X] …Do as she says. What can you do that she wouldn't simply shrug off, or worse?
Wooo. That was interesting. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The question is, and this is a quick one, how sure are we that Mystia's dead?

If I can get an answer, it'll really help what vote to throw in.
You will have to either check if she is breathing, or wait and see if she turns into a bird. However, the location of the impalement is important as well.

...Abdomen. Well, that's usually pretty fatal, but besides that, uh. Did Wriggle just run an arm through Mystia's hitbox?

...Will we get red p-tags?

God I feel like a horrible person now.
Well, compare where we were stabbed into and instantly killed last time, compounded with the general resilience of the birds.

At least you haven't made a comment about frying her up.
[X] …Do as she says. What can you do that she wouldn't simply shrug off, or worse

Mystia got us both out of this fate-worse-than-death. We can't do anything for her at the moment. We can't risk making her sacrifice in vain.
So, is the general consensus to hold onto the z vote even longer?
>>26788 here

I already got one in earlier, but I'll restate it I guess!

[z] Could you elaborate on how far psychologically gone long-time Youkai like Yuuka and Margatroid are? Is there anything substantial to them that we'd call human?
Ah, sorry, I should specify. If anyone wants to vote, you might as well do it now. Next post is gonna be a new thread, so we need to make sure this one hits autosage anyways.
As it is, there is one vote for >>26822, one for >>26789, and one for >>26739.
You can get rid of >>26739
That deals with the ending so it's not going to be answered. That being said I'm gonna give a votes towards:

[z] Could you elaborate on how far psychologically gone long-time Youkai like Yuuka and Margatroid are? Is there anything substantial to them that we'd call human?
What about the shiny thing that was part of a watering can? Cant we use that to bargain with Wriggle? I doubt there'd be much point in saying what it was other then 'a shiny thing', especially with the [ ] Try and bargain with Wriggle. Is there anything… option.

Just throwing that out there.
I doubt attempting to barter her a piece of a broken watering can which we found in her own garden will help much, no matter how shiny it is.
The shiny thing that you found was a red herring. No more, and no less. It will prove to be shiny enough to distract Okuu, but you hardly have a reason to use it anymore, now do you?
Part Three: >>26829
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